Dizzy Gillespie was actually the first major jazz artist to record with strings back in the mid '40s (before Parker). That fact is little-known because the commercial release of the project was held up by the Jerome Kern estate for more than 30 years. (It was deemed too radical a departure.) In the meantime, Gillespie did record a strings album that was released in 1950, a year after Bird's classic. His original strings recordings didn't surface until the '80s. Considering Gillespie's affection for strings, it's no coincidence that he hired a young Lalo Schifrin to join his band as pianist/arranger and immediately asked him to "write something" for his new boss. The result was "Gillespiana," a suite of five movements that Dizzy would perform live around the world for years to come. Schifrin's successful film and TV soundtracks have largely overshadowed a career that ranged from traditional- to contemporary-jazz settings, much of which involved strings. Recently, Schifrin conducted the London Symphony Orchestra for an album called Metamorphosis, the fourth release in his Grammy-winning "Jazz Meets the Symphony" series, with jazz soloists Ray Brown on bass, James Morrison on trumpet and flugelhorn, and himself on piano. Brown is featured on the Schifrin original "Invisible City." It's worth noting that he was also the featured bassist on Charlie Parker Wth Strings, some half-century earlier.
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