What could be more captivating than a tributary collection of tracks by Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis…done live…by a trio…that remains a trio…throughout the recording and doesn't add 101 other musicians in, keeping the sanctity of the threesome format whole and uncorrupted? Nothing, that's what. More, this CD is all live and recorded from a gig at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the New York City Bahai Center. Mike Longo's been a mainstay in the jazz scene for a long long time, began studies with Oscar Peterson, and played with Cannonball Adderly way back when, while in high school(!). Later, he was inducted into Gillespie's band, and Miles looked to Diz as a mentor, so you can guess what kind of esteem fell upon any of the great man's players. In fact, not only did Mike play when Miles one time sat in with Diz, but Davis, listening to the brilliant twining of Dizzy with Longo during the band's dates, said "Man, it sounds like you guys got married!" Many men's fortunes have been made on praise a good deal less than that.
This long CD is actually as much a celebration of improv as it is elegiac of two jazz giants and their unparalleled compositional abilities (and it includes a few cuts by composers the two themselves tributized: Gershwin and etc.). So imbued with the influence of the pair he'd looked up to for so long is Longo that there can be little doubt Diz and Davis were looking down from that Big Jam Hall in the skies and smiling from ear to ear on that day in New York, 'cause Longo pulls out all the stops, ably backed by bassist Paul West and drummer Ray Mosca. His Con Alma even gets Jarrett-esque (who was, of course, a Miles alumnus before he went on to play solo).
Celebration is music you can sink your teeth into, all jaw-dropping chops, no filler, served with love, admiration, and five mountain ranges' tonnage of respect for the men who towered in a time of jazz geniuses whose like has yet to be quite seen again. I mean, even with the deepest appreciation of Corea, Jarrett, Hancock, Kenton, Marsalis, and others, the days of Miles, Diz, Ellington, Mingus, Monk, Kirk, Armstrong, Coltrane, Parker, and ilk mark a period that hadn't occurred previously, is absent now, and does not appear likely to crop up in the near future. This is jazz as jazz was created and my advice is that you get into it while the getting's good 'cause the intervals between events like this seem to be getting longer and longer.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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