I Can’t Get Started/’Round Midnight

The trumpeter’s classic ballad medley

Duke Ellington Orchestra

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In 1945, Dizzy Gillespie recorded a radical version of “I Can’t Get Started” (Bunny Berigan’s 1937 hit) in which he essentially rewrote and modernized the piece in an innovative fashion.

That recording found him closing the piece with a phrase that soon fit perfectly into versions of Thelonious Monk’s “’Round Midnight.”

In the early 1960s, Gillespie combined together the pieces into a ballad medley, logically using his closing phrase on “I Can’t Get Started” as a transition between the two standards; he recorded the medley in 1963 when his group featured saxophonist James Moody and pianist Kenny Barron.

This film clip has Dizzy leading a slightly earlier quintet (with altoist Leo Wright, pianist Lalo Schifrin, bassist Chris White and drummer Rudy Collins), performing a superior version of his medley on July 22, 1962 at the Antilles Jazz Festival.

-Scott Yanow


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