Half Notes: Dizzy Gillespie/Sonny Stitt – Duets (1958)

An underappreciated Dizzy Gillespie record on Verve, includes some s-s-smokin’ thoughts of “Con Alma” — two, in fact.

Produced by Norman Granz, this new “Con Alma” lets you pull apart that Latin jazz masterpiece. The solos are, of course, different — but the pace is more relaxed, too. And Sonny Stitt, the Charlie Parker disciple, plays it long and cool.

There was more, it turns out: When Phil Schapp remastered “Duets” in 1988, they found a new tune (called it “Anythin’,” after an off-hand comment by Diz on the the session) that includes Stitt’s only alto work on the session.

A swinging highlight.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has also explored music for publications like USA Today, Gannett News Service, All About Jazz and Popdose for nearly 30 years. Honored as newspaper columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section that was named Top 10 in the nation by the AP in 2006. Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.