Track of the Week: Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie

As the year winds down, a little Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie is in order. The recording I have is by “The Quinent”, the collection of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach performing Live at Massy Hall in Toronto. The reason I’d picked this recording up in the first place was Mingus’ involvement in the performance (my obsession for Mingus’ recordings continues).

Salt Peanuts is a bit unusual in that it features Gillespie vocalizing the phrase “salt peanuts” multiple times while taking breaks from his racing trumpeting. It’s a solid bop sound, with a pretty standard bop structure. Given the luminarys that are on the recording, the song is without a doubt Gillespie’s. The crowd cheers any time he takes a break from his horn, which takes center stage. Roach holds the song together on the drums and makes Powell’s solid piano solo come alive by rimming on his snares. What I love the most of live jazz recordings is how the musicians (for lack of a better word) cheer each other on during solos. Anybody who has been to a live jazz show knows how when somebody is jamming, everybody else drops their head and cat calls in approval. This recording of Salt Peanuts captures that quite well during a few of the solos.

Recently, I shared the album with @emalasky at the office a few months ago and he repeated the phrase “salt peanuts” a few times to me afterwards (to me, a strange affirmation of how catchy the odd phrase still is). I also heard it at Shady Lady in Sacramento last weekend. It’s a bit anachronistic given that Shady Lady is suppose to be a speak easy, I’ll take it any time I hear some Gillespie at a bar.