The Dizzy Gillespie Variety Hour? How cool is that?
This was recently shown on the Black Family Channel, and (as a Jazz musician myself) I had to check it out. I mean, 1946 footage of Dizzy Gillespie? Not something you see that often. My expectations were moderate, though, having seen some of the strange vehicles musicians have been roped into, attempting to blend some kind (any kind) of plot with their music.
This is emphatically not that. Although the print shows its age at times, and synchronization was a occasionally off ('course, maybe they weren't performing live for the film's sound track ...), this is a well-crafted hour full of solid entertainment. Singers, instrumentalists, dancers both male and female, even comedy. Add to that getting to see such performers as Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, Benny Carter and Gillespie himself, along with many more, in what amounts to a front-row seat for a very cool variety show, photographed intelligently and orchestrated to please. Includes Salt Peanuts and Night In Tunisia; many of the numbers don't show the musicians, which I was sorry for, but overall, the show is great fun.
If you're a fan of Jazz and Bebop, Dance, and/or Dizzy Gillespie, and you get a chance to watch this, prepare to be entertained.
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