Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945

Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945

by Dizzy Gillespie
     
 

Drawn from seven 12-inch acetate disks discovered in a Massachusetts thrift shop, this 40-minute concert by trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, pianist Al Haig, bassist Curley Russell, and drummer Max Roach -- then a steadily working quintet at the Three Deuces Club on Manhattan’s famed 52nd Street -- is the earliest in-person document of bebop…  See more details below

Overview

Drawn from seven 12-inch acetate disks discovered in a Massachusetts thrift shop, this 40-minute concert by trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, pianist Al Haig, bassist Curley Russell, and drummer Max Roach -- then a steadily working quintet at the Three Deuces Club on Manhattan’s famed 52nd Street -- is the earliest in-person document of bebop’s early efflorescence. No serious student of jazz should be without it. For one thing, Parker and Gillespie, whose innovations in phrasing and harmony remain crucial to modern jazz vocabulary, are in brilliant form, breathing as one on the lightning unisons and stretching out with lucid fire on seven-minute versions of such modernist signposts as " Bebop,” “Night in Tunisia,” “Groovin’ High,” and “Salt Peanuts." For another, the recording quality is superbly present, sonically surpassing any other live Parker-Gillespie recording or, for that matter, any studio recording by either musician until the ‘50s. Unlike many contemporary dates, the rhythm section comes through as more than a whisper: You can hear Al Haig’s pithy comping and witty solos on a good piano, the surgical precision of Max Roach’s crackling cymbal strokes, his assertive bass drum, and the way he weaves together the components of his drumkit to design the rhythms. Remember, this is 1945! At the end, emcee "Symphony" Sid Torin brings out drum legend Big Sid Catlett, who uncorks an inventive three-minute solo on Tadd Dameron’s “Hot House.” The music sounds fresh and devoid of cliché; this is a major find, every bit as important as the rediscovered Monk-Coltrane Carnegie Hall concert from 12 years later that became a 2005 bestseller.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
The historic live Town Hall sessions by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker from 1945 have been discovered on an acetate pressing, and are transferred with digital enhancement to CD. Why this concert was not issued initially is understandable, but Ira Gitler's informative and insightful liner notes suggest they likely were misplaced. What Gitler's essential writing also reveals is that these dates were approximate by only weeks to the original studio recordings of these classics, and there was no small amount of controversy surrounding this revolutionary bebop. Clearly bop was a vehicle for intricate melodic invention followed by lengthy soloing, aspects of which Parker with Gillespie were perfectly suited for. Fact is, the situation surrounding the sonic capture and extended neglected shelf life of this performance was far from optimal. Symphony Sid Torin is the M.C., rambling as always, making repeated references to Dizzy "Jillespie" and misidentifying Max Roach as Sid Catlett on "Salt Peanuts." (Catlett does sit in on "Hot House" in a more supportive than demonstrative role.) The tracks with the brilliant Roach are on fire, particularly the super-hot "Salt Peanuts," with pianist Al Haig flying beside him. Haig is perhaps the most impressive musician. The rhythm section, especially Haig, is more present in the mix and up front, while the trumpet and alto sax are buried. As the concert progresses, it gets better, with Gillespie's muted trumpet clearer. Parker lays back on the mike, but not in spirit or bravado for "Interlude," which is now known as "A Night in Tunisia," and better balanced during "Groovin' High," which was originally titled "Whispering." There seems to be an unplanned slight key chance in the bridge of "Groovin' High." A late-arriving Parker was in part replaced by tenor saxophonist Don Byas, who sounds terrific on the opener, "Bebop," until Parker steps on-stage and ups the ante. At under 41 minutes in length, this can be looked upon as a historical document, likely appealing only to completists. But the overriding factor of previously undiscovered Diz and Bird makes the CD something all bebop fans should readily embrace, despite its audio deficiencies.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/21/2005
Label:
Uptown Jazz
UPC:
0026198275129
catalogNumber:
2751

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