Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band with James Moody at the Hollywood Bowl
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One of the most innovative and influential figures in 20th century music passed away on January 6, 1993, at the age of 75. Years later, some of his closest musical disciples continue to celebrate the master’s classic compositions – and his enduring spirit. *
The Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band*, a veritable who’s who among players, was formed in the summer of 1998 to perform Dizzy Gillespie’s classic big band repertoire and continue the wonderful jazz legacy left by the late John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie. The band is comprised of many Gillespie Alumni including his closest collaborator James Moody, his former musical director Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Claudio Roditi, Antonio Hart, Douglas Purviance, and executive director John Lee, Gillespie’s longtime bassist. Roy Hargrove, Paquito D’Rivera, Frank Wess, and Randy Brecker frequently appear with the band when schedules permit.
The arrangements written for Gillespie’s big bands may be vintage, many of them come from the mid 1940s to the mid ’50s, but they can hardly be described as “old” or “dated.” They continue to stimulate and challenge jazz musicians just as they continue to dazzle and delight audiences the world over. Some written by Gillespie himself, others commissioned by Dizzy from among such distinguished arrangers as Quincy Jones, Gil Fuller, Ernie Wilkins, Tadd Dameron, and Benny Golson. New arrangements are being contributed by two-time Grammy-winner for arranging, musical director Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, and Dennis Mackrel.
*James Moody *has captivated audiences since he first came on the jazz scene in the mid-1940s when he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s ground-breaking orchestra. In 1949 Moody moved to Europe and recorded his masterpiece “Moody’s Mood for Love,” one of jazz’s iconic solos. The saxophonist returned to the U.S. in 1952, leading his own groups and also reuniting with Gillespie in the 1960s.
You’ve got to wonder what kind of musician would even think to take a 19-piece band into the studio and out on the road, especially with the nation’s current economic condition, That kind of musician would be Roy Hargrove, the veteran jazz trumpeter and composer whose first big band album, _Emergence _(Groovin’ High/Emarcy), is released August 25th. “At this point this is probably the worst thing I could ever do, financially speaking,” admits Hargrove. “But it’s something that needs to be done, spiritually and musically speaking.”
Roberta Gambarini’s_ Easy to Love_ was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2007 in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category (along with albums by Karrin Allyson, Nancy King, Diana Krall, and Nancy Wilson). Roberta’s “formidable talent” (DownBeat Magazine) has also garnered her wins as the 2007 Female Jazz Singer of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) and as the 2007 Talent Deserving Wider Recognition from DownBeat Magazine’s Annual Critics Poll. Roberta was recently voted Rising Star Female Vocalist of the Year in 2008 DownBeat Critics Poll, and released a new album, So in Love.
Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band*, an 18-piece jazz ensemble, celebrates and personifies the best of the big band tradition with a very contemporary and original sound. Through the writing genius of Gordon Goodwin, SRO audiences have enjoyed one of the most craftsman-like hard swinging large jazz ensembles comprised of L.A.’s finest musicians. Gordon’s witty and insightful arrangements propel the listener on a journey through a myriad of styles: Latin, blues, swing, classical, hard-hitting jazz, and even an homage to Looney Tunes! Gordon is a Grammy- and multiple Emmy award-winner for his composing and arranging, and the Big Phat Band has four Grammy-nominated albums.