Friday, May 08, 2020

COVID-19 Level 3: Day 11

 Billie Holiday
Dizzy Gillespie I do wish Billie would have sung two choruses (or more) a little more often (we do have the alternate takes though). It’s an awfully minor complaint. There are some great bass and drum pairings across the set. Of course there’s the classic combo of Walter Page and Jo Jones, but I’ve also been enjoying John Kirby and Cozy Cole take care of business together. I have to throw some love in the direction of Buck Clayton too. In the history books he’s a little overshadowed by others. But how about that cup mute tone? And his melodic solos and blend with Prez is top notch. While we’re on the subject, Prez plays a little clarinet on Disc 4 (“The Very Thought of You”, “I Got a Date with a Dream”) - always a treat. If you’re after more clarinet from Prez, check out the Kansas City Sessions (with Buck and the Basie rhythm section) recorded about a week apart from this session with Billie in September, 1938.

Although some of these Dizzy discs are revisits, today’s outing was a new one for me. It’s nice hearing Dizzy revisiting pieces from the 40s and setting them next to slightly more contemporary pieces of the time (1963), hence Something Old, Something New. I can’t say I’ve ever been much of a fan of James Moody. He fits in well here, and the flute is a nice touch and today I preferred it over the sax playing, but he just doesn’t do it for me. I think horn blend and intonation was bugging me. It’s not always a factor, but today it was catching a nerve. I just seemed a bit inconsistent. But as a soloist Dizzy was pretty well on form throughout and that’s why these discs are getting a spin (although it’s always nice when someone else catches your ear).

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