"There's a great trumpeter over in England: a guy who's got soul and originality and, above all, who's not afraid to blow with fire."
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Dizzy Reece was the son of a silent films pianist. His first horn, at the age of eleven, was a baritone, but he switched to trumpet when he was fourteen. According to Dizzy, "There was quite a lot of jazz in Kingston, and a lot of good musicians. There were plenty of records too. I listened to everybody and went through all the periods--King Oliver, Louis Armstrong . . . The level on which I began was Buck Clayton--his tone gassed me."
Dizzy moved to London in 1948 and that city remained his base of operations for more than a decade though he made frequent trips across the continent and North Africa. For a while he had his own ten-piece band which played Dizzy Gillespie arrangements.
"Bebop came to England in '48 with Bird's tour. There are quite a few good musicians over there and many of them American . . . Kenny Clarke, Don Byas, Bud Powell . . . I always had trouble with the rhythm sections over there, though. Rhythm sections are supposed to accompany and I don't think they were always aware of that.
"I think a perfect rhythm section would be made up of players like Hank Jones or Tommy Flanagan, a drummer like Philly Joe Jones or Art Taylor, and bassists like Wilbur Ware, Ron Carter, Jimmy Harrison or Wilbur Little. I worked with Red Garland for a while and that was a thrill.
"It's really an inspiration to be in the States in spite of the economic pressures and hardships. I had wanted to come for a long time and took the long way around. But I did pick up many things in Europe, different cultures, elements . . . Now I can try to fuse them. And so maybe it was better this way."
Since coming here Dizzy has been particularly impressed with the work of Freddie Hubbard and the late Booker Little. "And of course there's Kenny Dorham, Art Farmer, Thad Jones, Miles Davis, Dizzy . . ."
Reese's own manner of playing the trumpet is characterized by his astonishing brilliance of tone and his uninhibited use of the trumpet's tonal capacities. Equipped with a virtuoso technique, he is not timid about making complete use of that either, but his virtuosity is never employed for its own sake, only as a means to express the full gamut of his emotions.
Dizzy has been attached to the Fats Navarro--Clifford Brown tradition of trumpet players, but while he resembles them stylistically, the emotional power of his music would seem to be charged with an awareness and reverence for earlier traditions in which his foundation is more likely rooted.
--ROBERT LEVIN, from the liner notes,
Asia Minor, 1962, Prestige.
A selected discography of Dizzy Reece albums.
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