This never before heard Town Hall Concert in 1945 ranks as the musical find of this century.There is remarkable sound quality and the tunes are the best of the best of this era. The musicians are the cream of the New York scene and their propensity for improvisation is unparalleled in the annals of modern jazz.
After an intro by Symphony Sid, Dizzy's blistering solo on "BeBop" is followed by Bird's late appearance. Parker walks on stage to the crowds delight with anticipatory applause and promptly blows the house down with his usual flair and brilliance. The unison with the alto and trumpet is beyond description.
"Night In Tunisia" is highlighted by Bird's explosion of notes on the break along with a melodic prowess not heard in the 'con-fusion' of today. On the second break Dizzy bursts forth like a fourth of July fireworks display. Diz finds enough time to insert the familiar "I Get The Neck Of The Chicken" quote. There is enough energy in this selection to light up Times Square during a brown out.
"Groovin' High" based on the "Whispering" changes saunters along with Parker's magical interpretive powers in full sway. Gillespie struts in with a myriad of notes . . . not a mindless exercise in facility . . . but a message filled chorus totally apropos to the chord changes. Al Haig bounces in with a soliloquy as hip as hip gets.
In "Salt Peanuts," a stratospheric tempo is the hallmark of this tune. Al Haig gets after this tune like a hungry man with a ham sandwich. To describe Charlie Parker's solo would take a combination of Shakespeare, Hemingway and Kerouac. Suffice it to say that it not only gets off the ground, but it is somewhere in orbit along with satellites and Mickey Mantle home runs. Dizzy Gillespie follows with an equally torrid solo to match his worthy constituent. Let's just say, you had to be there and you are, in many ways.
"Hot House" this tune is as beautiful as the man that penned it (Tadley Ewing 'Tadd' Dameron). Bird again swoops and soars like a sparrow on steroids. Haig sounds a bit like Tadd on this take and that makes it doubly interesting.
"52nd Street Theme" closes out this recording with a style and grace that is fitting for an album of this magnitude.
Jazz fans and cognoscenti alike will be overjoyed to bear witness to this, the greatest find since the Rosetta stone.