Friday, July 11, 2014

Dizzy in Antwerp '59

Dizzy Gillespie, Teddy Stewart - Antwerp, Belgium, 1959

Things that pop up on the internet: in September 1959, Dizzy Gillespie was touring Europe with his regular quintet, under the auspices of George Wein and his Newport Festival organization, in the company of a few musicians from an older generation. By the look of it—there's not so much information about the event at hand—the last date of the tour took place in Antwerp, Belgium, where the footage below was filmed. The first bit was broadcast in 1960 on French TV.

In his biography, Wein highlights two points about this tour: first, it showed him a lesson on how Europe worked at the time (a lesson with a price tag of $30,000), and second, in his long and illustrious career, it was the first time ever he felt he'd gained the trust of a great musician, namely Dizzy Gillespie, something he only became aware of thanks to the long time both his and Dizzy's spouses spent together on the road.

From that night in Antwerp there are two videos on line. Besides the musicians that the reader will most likely know, you'll also see and hear Jack Sels (real name: Jacques Sels), a Belgian saxophonist who was also the organizer of the concert in his hometown of Antwerp. The second clip (of which there exists a longer version, apparently), besides the close up of Voice of America's Willis Conover struggling to do his job, it's a good chance to see the camaraderie among musicians—see how Dizzy and Buck Clayton hug—, as well as the general relief that the tour is finally over.

Hope you enjoy...

Dizzy Gillespie Quintet

Dizzy Gillespie (t, voc), Leo Wright (as, f),
Junior Mance (p), Art Davis (b), Teddy Stewart (d)
+ Jimmy Rushing (voc) on "Blues After Dark"

"Groovin' High"........0:00
"Autumn Leaves".......12:53
"Blues After Dark"....17:31


Dizzy Gillespie Quintet +
Buck Clayton, Emmett Berry (t); Dicky Wells (tb);
Earle Warren (as); Buddy Tate (ts);
George Wein (p); Willis Conover (MC)

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