"The stars of universal jazz are more and more rare, so much so that we can count them on 10 fingers" ... this is the introduction given to the great Dizzy Gillespie for his Jazz Sessions French TV special back in 1970. One of the co-founders of the groundbreaking bebop genre that reclaimed jazz from the commercialized dilution of the Swing Era, Dizzy had outlasted most of his peers and was, by this point, rightly considered one of the Godfathers of modern music.
Though in the 70s his focus shifted towards Latin-jazz, something that had been brewing for a number of years, he still had a foot in the bebop camp and offered audiences a taste of its heady musical potion. Here, for instance, he begins his set with the famous "A Night In Tunisia," his 1942 composition that is said to have popularized the syncopated bassline, a staple feature of music by subsequent artists in the space.
He was a musician who had everything – capable of blistering thrills and deep poetry within the same bar. Here, we see him along a stellar cast in the final throws of his heyday. The audience is understandably glued to his assured showmanship and even now, all these years later, he represents a captivating prospect for viewers.