Dizzy Gillespie (tp), Stan Getz (ts), Sonny Stitt (as), John Lewis (p), Herb Ellis (g), Ray Brown (b), Stan Levey (d)
Bar code: 6009143171831
01. Bebop (Dizzy Gillespie) 12:47
02. Dark Eyes (Public Domain) 12:08
03. Wee (Allen's Alley) (Denzil Best) 8:27
04. Lover, Come Back to Me (Hammerstein II-Romberg) 9:32
05. Dark Eyes (Public Domain) 9:51 *
Total time: 52:55 min.
(*) Previously unreleased alternate take
CD reissue of the original 12-inch album Verve MG V-8198
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Stan Getz (tenor sax), Sonny Stitt (alto sax), John Lewis (piano), Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown (bass), Stan Levey (drums).
Recorded in Los Angeles on October 16, 1956
Liner notes: Phil Schaap
Design: Ellie & Tom Hughes
Original session supervised by Norman Granz
"The modern jazz revolution which came to be known as bebop was distinguished by a level of melodic-harmonic complexity and rhythmic brinkmanship which required the most elevated levels of instrumental virtuosity imaginable. As if to drive the point home, composers such as trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie crafted certain tunes to function as musical obstacle courses, which quickly separated the men from boys--without mercy. Such is the premise on For Musicians Only, save that with a driving rhythm section keyed by bassist supreme Ray Brown, and saxophone masters Stan Getz and Sonny Stitt on board as the other horns, there is no shortage of musical fiber. Brisk tempos and challenging chord changes are the order of the day, with Gillespie's anthemic "Bebop" setting a daunting standard. The trumpeter is in peak form here and on a riveting "Lover Come Back to Me," articulating breathtaking runs and high-wire rhythmic variations with all the fluidity of a saxophone, but with a tart, crackling tone all his own. Stitt, as is wont, plays with incredible speed and rhythmic articulation, and anyone who visualizes Getz as no more than the arbiter of cool tenor, should take note of this sheep in wolf's clothing's relentless melodic intensity on "Wee (Allen's Alley)."
"Often in the early days of the modern jazz movement, players would come up with the most dazzling tempos, complex chord changes, intricate melodies, and tricky rhythmic breaks imaginable, as much to challenge themselves as to keep the squares from trying to get on the bandstand and jam. For Musicians Only is just that, and then some. Gillespie, the great virtuoso trumpeter, is joined on the front line by Stan Getz and Sonny Stitt for a blowing session of phenomenal proportions. Gillespie's demanding tune "Bebop," and Denzil Best's "Wee (Allen's Alley)" (based on "I Got Rhythm") are given brisk, wailing treatments. Both tunes highlight Stitt's scampering alto, Getz's dancing, mentholated tenor (very much in his Lester Young mode), and Gillespie's coiled, tempestuous trumpet. The tough, swinging rhythm section really distinguishes itself on the standards "Dark Eyes" and "Lover Come Back to Me" (particularly bassist Ray Brown). They always manage to keep a hint of the basic tune in the foreground, no matter how free the soloists get. Gillespie is inspired throughout, and For Musicians Only contains some of his spunkiest, most pugnacious solos."
All Music Guide