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Live at Massey Hall by The Quintet

Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Talk about an "A" team! Recorded live at Toronto’s Massey Hall in 1953, this captures the architects of bebop at the height of their popularity. Mingus recorded and originally released this amazing concert tape, even though it was a bit of fate that allowed him to sit in for Oscar Pettiford who was out with a broken arm. From the opening notes of "Perdido," underscored by the audience reaction, this is superb. Bird is at the top of his form, Roach drives the traps, and Diz reaches for and finds notes that defy gravity, and Powell is inventive and fluent. And that’s just the first number! Gillespie’s signature "Salt Peanuts," played at a quick, though not hurried pace, has the audience enthralled. Diz is heard yelling "salt peanuts" off mic during Bird’s extraordinary solo. Again, Powell’s solos demonstrate brilliantly why he is such an important pianist in the music’s evolution. On "All The Things You Are," Gillespie’s trumpet and Bird’s alto are beautifully played. On "Wee (Allen’s Alley)" the bop pioneers burn the stage and "Hot House" offers more of the same, and those lucky audience members are appreciative throughout. Live recordings are hit and miss, and mixing in the audience is a risky proposition. That this live recording is a masterpiece is unquestionable. The audience is never in the way, but rather sometimes enhances the listening experience. The closing version of Diz’s "A Night In Tunisia" may be the best example. Gillespie’s muted trumpet, Birds absolutely liquid lines and their unison lines are met by cheers from the audience and at song’s and concert’s end, the enthusiastic applause is thunderous. A classic half century after the fact. This 20-bit remaster is a work of art.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: The Quintet
  • CD Title: Live at Massey Hall
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Reissue Original Release: 1953
  • Record Label: Debut
  • Rating: Five Stars
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