Have Trumpet, Will Excite! by Dizzy Gillespie (CD)

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Making its first (and long-overdue) appearance on CD in 2001, Have Trumpet, Will Excite! was recorded in February 1959 and arguably featured Gillespie's most underrated band. Bassist Sam Jones and drummer Lex Humphries formed a Rock-of-Gibraltar base over which pianist Junior Mance, at once subtle and blues drenched, created the ideal platform for the trumpeter and the remarkable Les Spann, who was equally original whether on flute or guitar. Spann proved an inspiring foil for Gillespie, and it is sad to reflect that he soon after faded from the scene, eventually to die in penury.

With the exception of the leader's famous "Woody 'N' You," the material draws on the rich resources of the American popular song, and while all seven such cuts abound in imagination and excellent solos, the pick has to be "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," a glorious combination of power, wit, and melodiousness. Three previously unreleased alternative takes of "There Is No Greater Love" and two of "I Found A Million Dollar Baby" are included, which is nice; nicer still would have been the addition (there was room enough) of the companion album The Ebullient Mr. Gillespie, recorded at the same time.

Nevertheless, you won't regret investing in one of the mature Gillespie's most satisfying dates. --Richard Palmer

©2001 by UMVD. 

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