It happened again. I’m listening over and over to Dizzy Gillespie’s incredible take on Sunny Side of the Street. Sonny Stitt takes the first solo, then Diz, and then Sonny Rollins, copping his lines from Louis Armstrong’s classic solo on his thirties take on the tune. Listen and you can almost hear Louis’s bluesy trumpet…this is one of my favorite Sonny Rollins solos. Then comes the best part — Dizzy’s perfect vocal. When I sing this song to myself hoping no one can hear, it’s this one I try and sing. Hell, it even taught me how to write about jazz. If ya wanna write about jazz, I told myself, ya gotta write in jazz. Otherwise you’re just another rock critic. So I tried to write like Dizzy talks/sings the lyric here. His phrasing, his timing, the punctuation he drops like bombs bouncing off a bass drum. Because this is the shit, man. This is jazz, this is bebop, this is the attitude, this is a whole fucked up old world opening up wide and you walk right on through, doing your own thing. And that, people, is what makes cool so cool…the gold dust at your feet (a metaphorical gold dust, but gold dust none the less) and you’re on the sunny, not the shady, but the sunny side of the street.
If you can dig that..
“On The Sunny Side of The Street”
Dizzy Gillespie trumpet, Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins saxes, Ray Bryant piano, Tommy Bryant bass, Charlie Parsip drums. Recorded in NYC, December 19, 1957.