Dizzy Gillespie ‘Dizzy on the French Riviera’ (Philips/Universal) 4/5

An uplifting festival mood permeates this 1962 live recording from the Juan-les-Pins festival, just along the coast from Nice and one in which the Latin tinge that Gillespie so revered is very much in evidence. From the crescending wave sounds of the intro, ‘No more blues’ was destined to be a classic and the rendition here is arguably the finest ever on record with Gillespie in fine form on trumpet and aided by a lovely piano solo from arranger Lalo Schifrin (who was the brainchild of the ‘Gillespiana’ suite from a couple of years earlier)and various Brazilian percussion. The extended ten minute plus version of ‘Long, long summer’ is played as a cha cha cha with Gillespie and fiery alto saxophonist Leo Wright alternating solos, and Schifrin providing Latin vamps to good effect. Of interest in the band line up is the addition of gipsy guitarist Elek Bacsik who, at this time, was accompanying a young Serge Gainsbourg on his early jazz-flavoured albums. 
The seldom recorded ‘For the gypsies’ proves to be a revelation with a distinct modal feel and Wright providing a refined flute solo while ‘Here is it’ reveals the blues inflected side to the group’s sound. Mark this down as a the perfect accompaniment to those long, hot summer days and evenings that we are promised are on the way.

Tim Stenhouse