Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best Jazz Compositions 4: A Night In Tunisia

This one is famous enough. According to legend (read: don't think it really happened), Dizzy Gillespie composed this one on the top of an overturned garbage can. I really hope that's true! It's an unforgettable melody, made famous by Gillespie's big band and by the Jazz Messengers. Here is my favorite recording of 'Night in Tunisia' by Dexter Gordon on his magnum opus, Our Man in Paris. Most jazz fans will already have this disc, but if you don't, listen and then buy the darned thing! It is easily one of the best bop albums ever recorded.

There is also a superb video clip of Gordon performing ANIT, available on Daily Motion. It was apparently produced by Dutch TV. Gordon walks along a dark, moist, street in a trench coat and hat. The year is 1964. As he approaches the door of the nightclub, you can hear the band warming up. Gordon walks into the club, takes his hat and coat off and hands them to the guy behind the bar. He joins the band and takes up his horn and says: "And now we go into the land of the sun, and the sand dunes, and the heat ..." This clip is by God what jazz is.

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