Had John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie chosen to disappear after making these combo and big band sessions, his reputation would still be secure for a thousand years. Following hard on the heels of Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge, Gillespie is the next great trumpet innovator in American music. Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk changed the manner in which musicians and vocalists phrased every bit as much as Armstrong did; and it is through Dizzy's direct decendants (Fats Navarro and Miles Davis) that the vast vocabulary of the modern trumpeter proceeds.
Sure, some trumpeters had a more alluring tone, but no one since Satchmo had approached the instrument with such bravura chops and harmonic sophistication. The proof is here to behold on GROOVIN' HIGH. The classic vamp and release of "Blue 'N' Boogie" seems to emerge full blown from the great jam sessions of the '30s, but with more modern chords and a looser rhythmic feel; and when Dizzy explodes out of young Dexter Gordon's tenor break, it's clear something new is afoot.
And there it is on the title tune, as Dizzy and the other half of his heartbeat, Charlie Parker, essay elongated, heavily syncopated melodic variations-culminating in the trumpeter's closing aria. On "Dizzy Atmosphere," following their dynamic solo breaks, they harmonize a complex second theme with such seamless phrasing it must have scared other horn players to death. In a contrasting mood, they redefine the famous changes to Jerome Kern's "All The Things You Are," displaying supple melodic grace.
As revolutionary as these sides are, Gillespie's 1946 sides with arranger Gil Fuller served to elevate the big band into orchestral dimensions just beyond the pale of dancers. "Things To Come" finds each section phrasing like a soloist, with broad brassy flourishes, rolling counterpoint and bold accents. Dizzy's solo is a banshee cry in which he answers long clarion shouts with tenacious, triple-timed variations. Not that this well-oiled machine couldn't get down and stomp some blues in a classic swing mode, as they do on "Eamon." Here, Gillespie follows Milt Jackson's vibes break with even more dramatic contrasts, building harmonic sand castles, only to blow them down in a swelter of rhythmic accents.
All Music Guide
Groovin' High is a 1992 compilation album of live sessions by jazz composer and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. The Rough Guide to Jazz describes the album as "some of the key bebop small-group and big band recordings".[
Jazz critic Scott Yanow concedes that the music included is classic, but dismisses the compilation over-all as "so-so" because of its brevity, because of the out of date and lightweight liner notes and because the material presented does not represent the complete sessions at which the material was played. The compilation features Gillespie with a number of combinations and other musicians, including his 1946 big band, Charlie Parker, a sextet with Dexter Gordon and a combo featuring Sonny Stitt.