The Dizzy Gillispie™ All-Star Big Band – Dizzy’s Business

The Dizzy Gillispie™ All-Star Big Band
Dizzy’s Business
(MCG – 2006)

Slide Hampton leads a dynamic grouping of Dizzy’s disciples. Dizzy’s Business is a passionate, high-energy experience. The 13 tracks on The Dizzy Gillespie™ All-Star Big Band’s sophomore CD – built on Dizzy Gillespie’s original big band charts with new arrangements by musical director and Grammy Award winning arranger Slide Hampton, master saxophonist Jimmy Heath and drummer extraordinaire Dennis Mackrel – come to life through the collective talents of what can only be categorized as Gillespie’s “dream band.”

The Dizzy Gillespie™ All-Star Big Band under the direction of trombonist Slide Hampton with special guest trumpeter Roy Hargrove and featuring: James Moody – Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Vocals Jimmy Heath – Tenor Saxophone Frank Wess – Alto Saxophone, Flute Antonio Hart – Alto Saxophone, Flute Gary Smulyan – Baritone Saxophone Frank Greene – Lead Trumpet Greg Gisbert – Trumpet Randy Brecker – Trumpet Claudio Roditi – Trumpet, Percussion Jason Jackson – Lead Trombone Steve Davis – Trombone Jay Ashby – Trombone, Percussion Douglas Purviance – Bass Trombone Mulgrew Miller – Piano Marty Ashby – Guitar John Lee – Bass/ Executive Director Dennis Mackrel – Drums And introducing vocalist, Roberta Gambarini

Recorded live at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh, PA, during a four-night stand in September-October 2005, Dizzy’s Business showcases the talents of 18 disciples from the Gillespie school – many of them musical luminaries in their own right – under the leadership of the great trombonist Slide Hampton. Included in the star-studded lineup are Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Frank Wess, Claudio Roditi, Randy Brecker, Antonio Hart, and Executive Director John Lee – all veterans who played with Dizzy at various times throughout the past five decades. Special guest trumpeter Roy Hargrove and the Italian-born vocal sensation Roberta Gambarini round out the ensemble. Hargrove lends his expert sound and riveting solos while Gambarini brings a remarkable range and gift for improvisation.

Getting down to business, Slide Hampton and Dennis Mackrel each wrote three contemporary arrangements of vintage tunes originally composed for or frequently performed by Gillespie’s big bands of the mid-1940s and 1950s. Hampton took on “Blue ‘N Boogie,” a classic Dizzy tune with a twist, featuring Roberta Gambarini and James Moody in a humorous scat trade with an energetic solo by Roy Hargrove. Other Hampton arrangements include two beautiful standards, Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” and Brazilian composer Luiz Bonfa’s “Morning Of The Carnival.” Both songs spotlight Gambarini’s impeccable technique. Mackrel’s three inventive arrangements include Tadd Dameron’s “Hot House” and two Thelonious Monk tunes, “I Mean You” and “Off Minor.” Jimmy Heath contributed two original compositions in tribute to his two friends: “Without You – No Me (To Dizzy),” originally commissioned by Dizzy in 1987, and “Moody’s Groove,” written in honor of James Moody’s 80th birthday and premiered in April 2005.

The remaining tracks on Dizzy’s Business are three beloved Gillespie tunes: the title track, a rare Gillespie arrangement by Ernie Wilkins; the Latin-influenced “Con Alma;” and Dizzy’s power-packed “Tour de Force.” Dizzy’s Business is everything the title implies – continuing the legacy left by the late master with a fresh perspective crafted by some of his most ardent followers.

This project marks the second collaboration between The Dizzy Gillespie™ All-Star Big Band and MCG Jazz. Things To Come (MCGJ 1009), the big band’s first album, was released in May 2002.