Dizzy Gillespie "Live 1961"

Dizzy Gillespie ~ John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie--trumpeter, bandleader, entertainer--was 43 and still at the peak of his powers when he appeared with his quintet on Ralph J. Gleason's performance-interview TV program, Jazz Casual, in early 1961.

while his style had become somewhat cooler since the days when he and Charlie Parker led jazz's bebop revolution, this four-song set is as identifiably Dizzy as his trademark up-tilted horn and ballooning cheeks.

The tunes, from Benny Golson's mid-tempo "Blues After Dark" to Dizzy's own "Lorraine" (with an exotic, sinuous melody reminiscent of his more famous "Night in Tunisia"), are invariably swinging, with fine solo turns by Gillespie, saxophonist-flutist Leo Wright, and a pianist named Lalo Schifrin.

That's the same Lalo Schifrin who within a few short years would achieve pop music immortality by composing the Mission: Impossible theme.

The usually ebullient Mr. Gillespie is rather reserved here, but as always his playing is stunning. He would continue to play well into the '90s, but his middle-period work, as captured in this Jazz Casual episode, is remembered fondly by many as some of his most important and enjoyable.
  • Air date: January 17, 1961
  • John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie - Trumpet
  • Lalo Schifrin - Piano
  • Leo Wright - Saxophone
  • Chuck Lampkin - Drums
  • Bob Cunningham - Bass

  • Performances:
  • Norm's Norm (4:26)
  • Lorraine (3:42)
  • Blues After Dark (7:08)
  • Tocatta from Gillespiana (4:58).
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