Gary Giddins
March 02, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

Max and Dizzy - Paris 1989

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach
Producers
A&M
genre
Jazz

We gave it an A+

Still another formidable new release, the most imposing of all in its historic implications, is Max and Dizzy — Paris 1989. Dizzy Gillespie, who with Charlie Parker virtually created the modern jazz movement, was nearly 72 when he and Max Roach performed as a duo for the first time at a concert in Paris last spring. I wasn’t optimistic, but repeated listening suspends disbelief. Roach, the premier postwar drummer, is at the peak of his powers and carries the brunt of the action; Gillespie, measuring his every note, astonishes with a wealth of ideas. Surprises abound: Roach articulating every note of the bop anthem ”Allen’s Alley,” before Gillespie abstracts it; Roach manipulating the toms for sliding pitches that suggest a bass on ”Nairobi”; Gillespie singing ”Oo Pa Pa Da” and reaffirming his stature as one of bop’s preeminent vocalists. This is classic music, head music, an unlikely gift from two sainted figures. A fascinating interview occupies the last quarter of the recording. A+

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