Legends Live – Dizzy Gillespie Quartet – Jazz Haus mono No. 101711, 69:12 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
(Gillespie (trumpet); Leo Wright (Alto Saxophone, Flute); Lalo Schifrin (piano); Bob Cunningham (bass); Mel Lewis (drums))
The Jazz Haus recordings come from an archive of unpublished live jazz recordings (over 3000 hours) in Germany beginning in 1949, with over 400 ensembles and soloists. This particular disc contains music from November 27, 1961 at Liederhalle Stuttgart as well as November 29, 1961 in Kongresshalle Frankfurt. It’s lucky for us jazz fans that Europe was a welcome arena for jazz musicians in the 60s. It’s not often you hear Lalo’s name mentioned outside of film scores, but in the case of this disc, he can clearly keep up with the best of them—take the 16 minute classic by Duke as an opener.
As is the case with many live performances of jazz, compositions often get extended treatment and that is the case here. While a few of the tracks are under five minutes the others average about a quarter of an hour each! Recording quality is surprisingly good considering the age and the fact that these are live recordings. Overall, it is even though lacking the extreme high end, couple with a slight muffled quality and monaural. It seems the quality is better on the last two tracks (the second date).
“Con Alma” showcases the bass and piano throughout while letting Dizzy show his stuff on this Afro-Cuban treat. Wright is featured on flute on “Willow Weep For Me” and though many may not be familiar with him, he’s played with the likes of Kenny Burrell, Johnny Coles, Blue Mitchell and Charles Mingus. Hubert Laws and Roland Kirk don’t have anything on this guy. For something from the wild side with sweet horn sounds check out “Kush.” This wouldn’t be the first disc I’d give a new listener of jazz, but for those who enjoy Gillespie’s sound and appreciate live recordings of Latin jazz, then it is worth a long listen.
TrackList: The Mooche; Con Alma; Willow Weep For Me; Oops-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be; I Can’t Get Started; Kush; Con Alma (Alternate Take).