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Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945 CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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This is a live concert recording of Dizzy and Bird from Town Hall not previously known to have been recorded. With audio restoration by Ted Kendell, the sound is excellent. This is a discovered recording of Dizzy and Bird at bebop's inception - the equivalent of finding the Buddy Bolden cylinder. Also features Don Byas, Al Haig, Curley Russell and Max Roach. This 7 track CD includes the songs "Intro," "Bebop," "A Night In Tunisia," "Groovin' High," "Salt Peanuts," "Hot House" and "52nd Street Theme."

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Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker first became aware of each other in 1940 when the former was playing in Cab Calloway's band and the latter with Jay McShann. Two years later they were both living in New York City and a real friendship developed. By 1945 they were recording and gigging together, culminating in this Town Hall concert on June 22, 1945. These recordings languished for sixty years as acetates that weren't even known to exist in their entirety. That this set captures these two formidable players in their ascendancy and with such clarity is a staggering find. Here, with host Symphony Sid announcing the songs (this would have been for his radio show, but apparently never ended up in his possessions), an important chapter in American music is now restored. By the end of the summer of '45 Gillespie and Parker went their separate ways, both emerging with their own bands and reaching new heights of commercial success. --David Greenberger
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 21, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Uptown Jazz
  • ASIN: B0009Q0EQ0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,339 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
It's hard to believe the good fortune we have of being able to listen to this surprisingly well-recorded, previously lost Town Hall concert concert from June 22, 1945. Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Don Byas, Al Haig, Curley Russell, Max Roach & Big Sid Catlett are presented here just months after the first Bop records were recorded in a blistering concert MC'd by the redoubtable Symphony Sid Torin. This is Bop at it's inception, played in the heat of enthusiasm and discovery. Diz is a marvel on every cut, Bird plays as if his very life depended on it, Al Haig is allowed to stretch out as he never was on the original records and the rhythm section of Russell & Roach were creating the sound of the future. Special guests Byas & Big Sid are an added treat. The breaks & solos on "Night In Tunisia" and "Salt Peanuts" have lost none of their ability to scare the living s**t out of musicians to this very day. If you have ANY interest in these artists and this music, DO NOT delay and buy this release as soon as you possibly can. Can I give Uptown Records & this CD twenty stars?!?!?!?!?
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Format: Audio CD
This previously unknown concert recording from 1945 of one of the greatest groups in jazz history, the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet with Charlie Parker, exceeds the listener's lofty expectations. First, the quality of the music is at the highest level of inspiration, with the innovations of Parker and Gillespie still fresh, new and exciting. Parker and Gillespie are both in astounding form. Second, the quality of the recording is very good--this is easily one of the best recorded live concerts of this era. Third, this release is from Uptown Records, and hence is meticulously prepared and researched. In short, this is an essential jazz recording and one of the great music discoveries of the last fifty years.
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Format: Audio CD
Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker hooked up in late June of 1945 for this knock-out concert at Town Hall, New York City, maybe for a post-VE Day celebration! With a history somewhat reminiscent of another newly released CD, "Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane," these recordings, as acetates, were buried somewhere for sixty years and no one knew they existed in their entirety. Thus, this is the first time the concert has ever been released. Sixty years in the "lost and found!!" Makes one wonder what other treasures are buried out there! I recently read a comment that, "...the discovery of this recording is a Dead Sea Scrolls kind of event." For jazz/bebop lovers, it is so true!

Unlike the Monk/Coltrane find, the quality of this recording is uneven, but the quality of the music is simply superb! The brilliance of young jazz greats Parker's and Gillespie's music shines through. At a time when jazz meant big band sound to most folks, Dizzy and Bird were discovering bebop, and coming out with classics like "A Night in Tunisia" and "Salt Peanuts" for the first time. The quintet's rhythm section, with great bop bassist Curley Russell, percussionist Max Roach and pianist Al Haig, is outstanding! Billed as Gillespie's Quintet, and playing mostly Dizzy's tunes, underrated tenor sax player Don Byas stands in for Bird until the tardy Parker shows for his gig. Big Sid Catlett makes a brief appearance for his solo on "Hothouse." And, as a campy side event, there is commentary by "Symphony" Sid Torin, a famous New York City disc jockey who covered the jazz scene, and introduces, announces and occasionally banters with the musicians and audience.

Dizzy often said, when speaking of his musical collaboration with Parker, that Bird was "the other half of my heartbeat.
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Format: Audio CD
According to jazz gospel, jazz's Anno Domini is November 1945, when Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie cut several sides including the incredible "Ko Ko". Before then, there was a recording ban that prevented the innovations of the Bebop musicians from being heard. (True, there were some Dizzy Gillespie-led sessions including Salt Peanuts, but they sold so badly that they don't count).

In this version of events, jazz music was totally turned on its head, and the New Testament era of jazz began. When Ko Ko came out in November of 1945, the technical brilliance of the new form of jazz blew everyone away, and the music was changed forever.

But in 2005, this version of events was slightly altered. Finding a complete, live performance of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespi, a full five months before the Ko Ko session, is an astonishing coup. The source of the recording is still rather hazy, with some indications that the anonymous person hoarding them may yet have more to release in years to come. At any rate, this is an astonishing discovery, perhaps even slightly more astonishing than the Monk-Coltrane discovery in the same year.

Dont forget, this is BEFORE the widespread use of tape to record sound (tape was invented in Nazi Germany, and is largely a postwar thing). Also, discs only lasted three minutes a side back in 1945. So you have to imagine some engineers lurking in the Town Hall, with a battery of recording lathes and a pile of fragile lacquer discs, furiously changing discs every three minutes. And yes, they got every note of the concert. Incredibly, the discs were not separated from each other, nor did any of them break over the years! There must have been about twelve or thirteen sides altogether.
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