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Jazz at Massey Hall [Live, Original recording remastered]

Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, The Quintet, Max RoachAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Original Jazz Classics / Debut Records
  • Run Time: 47.09 minutes
  • ASIN: B000000Y2R
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,870 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Perdido
2. Salt Peanuts
3. All The Things You Are
4. Wee
5. Hot House
6. A Night In Tunisia

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

One of the most famous live recordings in jazz history, this May 1953 concert from Toronto brought together five of bebop's greatest figures in alto saxophonist Charlie Parker (credited here as "Charlie Chan" in a purposely transparent attempt to sidestep Parker's exclusive recording arrangement with another record company), trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Bud Powell, drummer Max Roach, and bassist Charles Mingus. Released following Parker's death two years after the date, the recording finds him in remarkable form, his playing robust, pointed, and witty. And although each participant is a band leader, composer, and groundbreaking stylist on his instrument, the performance demonstrates that Parker remained first among equals. Compositionally, Jazz at Massey Hall leans heavily on the bebop book developed by Gillespie, and includes "Salt Peanuts," "Wee," and "A Night in Tunisia." Also featured are Tadd Dameron's "Hot House," the Ellington standard "Perdido," and "All the Things You Are." Initially released on Debut Records, a label co-owned by Mingus and Roach, the sound quality is certainly of the time, but has benefited over the years from digital technology. --Fred Goodman

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2* Summit's Great; Summit's Just Very Good July 15, 2001
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, but not "essential" recording of perhaps the five greatest jazz instrumentalists of the bop era. The legendary players include Charlie "Bird" Parker on sax, John B. "Dizzie" Gillespie on trumpet, Bud Powell on piano, Charles Mingus on bass, and Max Roach on drums. It would be difficult to ask for a better all-star lineup; it is, indeed, a historic meeting.
However, while the meeting is stratospheric, the results are mixed. Of course, each plays superbly, but the ensemble playing--the empathic groove between the musicians-- is sometimes uneven. This is not to take away any superlatives from individual performances or those cuts where the band is tight and simpatico, but, in reviewing the performance, one must (somehow) suspend knowledge of each performer's individual excellence.
The biggest culprit is the very uneven sound quality obtained from Mingus' backstage recorder (!). Mingus, in fact, had to dub in most of his performance later because he was recorded so poorly. Unfortunately, no one else redubbed their parts, and this, at times, dampens the performances of Powell, Parker, and Roach. The second overall problem is the apparent lack of direction in some of the music. Finally, the band's ensemble playing seldom wanders far from the familiar bebop grooves. (When it does extend itself, however, the band's creative impulse will jolt you.) Here, then, are the cuts:
"Perdido" (7:53): Dizzy Gillespie provides the only fireworks here. His dramatic dynamics (volume changes) are well-recorded, his rapport with Roach is unusually good, and he throws in a trademark whimsical musical "quotation." Powell has a long searching solo that features an excellent fluid-yet-choppy solo.
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73 of 83 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Other than excerpts available here on Amazon, I haven't actually heard either this CD or the 20-bit remastered version of it. Based solely on the description, however, I instead ordered The Jazz Factory's 2003 CD "Complete Jazz at Massey Hall" (JFCD 22856) (referred to hereafter in this review as "CJMH"), and I am very glad I did. Here's why:
1. In addition to the 6 quintet tracks on the present CD, CJMH includes 8 other tracks from the concert, including a 4-and-a-half-minute self-contained drum solo by Max Roach, and 6 great tracks by a trio of Powell, Mingus, and Roach (Cherokee, Embraceable You, Halleluja, Sure Thing, Lullaby of Birdland, and I've Got You Under My Skin). Also, according to the liner notes, all 14 tracks are in the order in which they were performed at the concert.
2. NONE OF MINGUS' OVERDUBBED BASS is included on CJMH. You can still hear him, though, but much more naturally than he sounds on the overdubbed excerpts I've heard here on Amazon.
3. According to the notes on the CJMH case, the "original analogue masters have been digitally transferred at 24 bit resolution, processed using Sonic Solutions NoNoise technology and mastered to 16 bit for CD using prism SNS Noise Shaping." Whatever that means, the sound for the most part is great. Some of the tracks start a bit abruptly, and the sound on the 6 trio tracks is variable, but the sound quality of the 6 quintet tracks is phenomenal. Again, there is no Mingus overdubbing present, and--especially when Bird and Diz are playing--the sound has great clarity and presence. There is no real audible tape hiss except when only the rhythm section is playing and the levels are raised a bit.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This concert was a reunion for Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. In spite of his name, Dizzy was actually a pretty stable guy, who was fed up with Bird's shennanigans. It was a shame, because they were two virtuosos, and Parker replaced Diz with a young Miles Davis, who was just not up to the task, not playing at a level to meet and challenge Bird.

To give you an idea of what Dizzy had been putting up with, Parker played the gig on a white plastic saxophone, because his horn was in the pawn shop. That was a common tactic of Charlie Parker, drug addict, pawning his horn before a gig, in order to get money for heroin. In spite of the plastic horn (that actually became kind of a collector's item because Bird had used the horn on this notorious recording) he played fantastic, and the alto break on Night in Tunisia, where the band stops just after playing the head, and then the alto carries it, and the band rejoins him for the first solo chorus, is classic, and is now referred to as THE "alto break." In addition to his pawn shop situation, Parker also had to record under the name of Charlie Chan, due to other contractual obligations. It is just amazing, that in spite of the situation, they had assembled the greatest band of all eternity, who were able to perform the Greatest Jazz Concert of All Time.

Charles Mingus was quite a bass player, but a volatile personality as well. One time when a trumpeter announced he was quitting, Mingus punched him in the mouth, breaking several teeth. This is even more serious for a musician, especially a trumpet man, than it is for the average citizen. What a prick. But what a bass player he was.

Bud Powell suffered from mental illness.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love and music
Enjoyable, relaxing, and uplifting to the nth degree. All one needs to do is sit back and listen. Greatness penetrates when the eyes and ears are open for business, pleasure, love... Read more
Published 23 days ago by C. Garmon
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing album
This is arguably the best jazz album ever made, and definitely my favorite. I lost my hard copy a few years ago so I decided to get the digital version this time. Read more
Published 8 months ago by malachi
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Heights
Jazz at Massey Hall is a classic with terrific musicians. The music is superb which makes the whole CD enjoyable
Published 8 months ago by Ronald Winters
5.0 out of 5 stars The Epitome of Modern Jazz
Even though this was recorded in 1953 at the high point of 'Be-Bop', the musicians here are unsurpassable even to this day. Read more
Published 9 months ago by (Mr.) Rene Pineda
3.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to any jazz afficionado's collection
This was a live concert from many years ago, 1953, and the original recording was so primitive that even new digital tech could not improve it as much as I would have liked. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Clay L Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Quintet only and the sound quality is better than some releases
This disc features only the entire quintet comprised of Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Charlie Parker on alto, Bud Powell on piano, Charles Mingus on bass and Max Roach on drums. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mike Tarrani
5.0 out of 5 stars 2013 Remaster
Be sure to get the 2013 remaster of this concert classic, not the earlier version shown at this site.
Published 13 months ago by alan
1.0 out of 5 stars WHERE'S THE SECOND DISC?
Published 18 months ago by J.F. Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars Alloter07
I got this as a gift for my Dad and he is so happy with it. He is a jazz fan, but didn't realise this recording existed.
Published 22 months ago by Alloter 47
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE?
If you know anything about classic jazz then this line up of musicians should say it all.this is an absolute all-star line up like no other. Read more
Published on July 31, 2012 by S. Jackson
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