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Published: 2004/10/30
by Benjy Eisen

Dizzy Gillespie Jive In Be-Bop

As we all know, Dizzy Gillespie set trends and certainly a fair share of swing music clichoriginated with the him and his famed big bands. But I’m going to be horribly unoriginal in reviewing this DVD transfer of Jive In Be-Bop by opening this review with every clichn the book: Essential viewing! A must-own DVD! Sensational! An instant classic!
This hour-long performance feature from 1947 is a rare motion picture of Gillespie’s enormously influential big band from that era, performing live with guest singers and interpretive dancers. Gillespie’s band at this time featured many notables, including Charlie Parker, and is widely credited as being the rainmakers of be-bop. And they are.
They’re in fine form here, and the only complaint film-wise is that the camera focuses on the live dancers more often than the musicians themselves. But when we do get to see them, we’re treated to the magnetic bandleader smiling and bopping as he leads this simply amazing big band ensemble through sweaty jazz workouts. The tap, interpretive, skit, jive, and swing dance numbers all brim with a genuinely appealing nostalgia for the era, and the dancers are nearly as talented as the band. But it is in performance clips such as the opening "Salt Peanuts" where we get to see the musicians effortlessly glide through their hugely expressive bebop runs that makes this disc such a visual feast. Renditions of now-classics such as "He Beeped When He Should Have Bopped" and "Things To Come" are quite honestly breathtaking.
Jive In Be-Bop is a part of the fantastic "Swing Era" series from Music Video Distributors (MVD) and is a straight transfer of the 1947 theatrical long feature of the same name. The only difference is the exclusion here of the distracting MC announcements that was the fashion at the time of its original release.

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