Holiday Weekend Extra: What Jazz Is

Asked to define jazz, Louis Armstrong replied, “If you have to ask what it is, you’ll never know.” That’s one answer. Here’s another, provided by Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Hank Jones, Rufus Reid and Mickey Roker at Gillespie’s 70th birthday concert on October, 21, 1987. The composition is Gillespie’s blues “Wheatleigh Hall.” In the preamble, Gillespie and Rollins praise one another, then Willis Conover introduces the performance. If you have full-screen capability on your computer, please do yourself a favor and use it. I have watched and listened to this four times tonight and will play it again before I turn in.

To find the 1957 Gillespie-Rollins recording of “Wheatleigh Hall,” which also has Gilespie duets with Sonny Stitt, click here.
Have a good Sunday.

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  1. Erik R. Quick says

    Ah. I was at this concert at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts. I believe it was June 1987. The concert lasted over 5 hours and remains one of the finest jazz evenings of my life. So many legends in one place at one time. I never understood why the recording was not released commercially. Many thanks for stirring this memory, and bringing a tear to my eye.