Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Dizzy Gillespie - Afro, album review

Half and Half

My first impulse for listening to this album is because it was released in 1954, when I was born, and it is simply interesting to hear what was going on, musically, at the time. And its 'afro' sound was going to appeal, to discover how wild, or not, this would be.

In many ways it is a wild album, though wildly schizophrenic, moving as it does between generic afro-cuban beats [largely percussive], with the pulsing horns to deliver the other punchy sounds, and then the other totally generic sound of a big band - like a sudden Glenn Miller morphed out of the afro roots. And all - both sides - just loud!

Dizzy blasts away here and there, often racing through runs, but then everything else is blown with such unrestrained gusto. It is actually more strange than powerful, though not something to dislike, completely.

But it is an album of two halves as well as the cubop/big band split, and the latter half of tracks is with a combo rather than big band, Dizzy's playing more a singular focus instead of a competition with the other players.

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