This is not a run-of-the-mill reissue CD. Sure! You’ve heard all these songs before but there is a very large "BUT." This is virtually unheard Diz & Bird
. The copious notes go into fine detail telling the listener how these priceless acetate discs were discovered and lovingly turned into this compact disc project.
The Uptown Records presentation includes a 30 page booklet with notes by Ira Gitler
, photos from the Frank Driggs Collection
and reprints of concert reviews from the NYC press. You’ll also find some technical notes by Ted Kendall
who is responsible for this wondrous remastering.
Listeners will marvel at the quality of both sound and music. It’s great to hear the legendary Symphony Sid banter back and forth with the musicians and the audience. The crowd reacts wildly to the brief appearance of Big Sid Catlett and his solo on "Hot House", the Tadd Dameron classic. Catlett is forever "the showman" and has some comical verbal exchanges with Dizzy.
Both Gillespie and Parker cook throughout the concert. The rhythm section of Curley Russell, Max Roach and Al Haig is historically superb and this recording enforces that fact. Almost immediately following the Town Hall concert, Dizzy went on to form his big band, Bird and his group became regulars on 52nd Street and Al Haig joined Woody Herman.
In the process of finding out if this CD is in the stores, I came across a fan’s review on the Amazon site. He wondered if he was permitted to award the disc 20 stars. Perhaps I’ll ask my boss the same question.
Seriously, this is essential material for any bebop collector. It has only one shortfall and that’s the length of only 40 minutes. Just remember that there are many joyous pleasures in life that are much, much shorter.