Dizzy's Business was recorded live at Pittsburgh's Manchester Craftsmen's Guild during a four-night stand in the fall of 2005. (Their first CD, Things to Come, was also on MCG Jazz and reviewed on this site.) Directed by Slide Hampton, they perform with energy and joy in the Gillespie tradition. Dizzy's horn could pierce the air or caress a ballad and in that regard he receives special homage from all the trumpet soloists - Randy Brecker, Claudio Roditi, Greg Gisbert and special guest Roy Hargrove.
The opener, "Dizzy's Business," composed and arranged by Ernie Wilkins for the early Gillespie band, features a fiery Brecker. Dizzy's appropriately named "Tour De Force" is also a Wilkins contribution. Another Gillespie composition, the haunting "Con Alma," has Hampton and the other soloists exploring all the possibilities of their respective axes in a Dennis Mackrel arrangement. The multi-talented Mackrel (drummer, pianist, composer, arranger) also salutes other bop pioneers with two Monk tunes that allow Mulgrew Miller to display his musical gifts, and an innovative chart of Tadd Dameron's "Hot House" that contains an interesting contrapuntal sequence and strong solos by Hart, Hargrove and Miller.
An unexpected find on this album is the Italian-born vocalist, Roberta Gambarini. Leader Hampton creates just the right setting for her warm and supple voice in three charts. "Stardust" and "Morning of the Carnival" are tender and intense. On "Blue 'N Boogie" Gambarini and Moody romp through scat choruses with additional heat provided by Jason Jackson on trombone, and Roy Hargrove's eloquent solo.
The little giant, Jimmy Heath, contributed two "tribute" compositions. "Without You, No Me" recognizes Dizzy's Latin influences and showcases the sax section while "Moody's Groove" proves that the honoree is very much alive and blowing.
Dizzy's Business is the title but you are in for the ultimate pleasure trip.
Note: MCG Jazz is the jazz arm of Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh, a minority-directed arts and learning center with a focus on youth and jazz. Master musicians appear for performances and clinics, and proceeds of the resulting CDs help support the center. For two decades, MCG Jazz has produced over 1,200 concerts and 40 recordings.