I had the pleasure of having played with Thelonius Monk once, Charlie Mingus once and Dizzy Gillespie once.
The occassions were: during the years that I lived in New York (the 60's),I frequently hung out in jazz clubs with Nica Koenigswarter (the Baroness) and Thelonius.
On this occassion the 3 of us and Barry Harris were in the "5 Spot" where Wes Montgomery's group was performing.
Wes invited us up to play, so Monk went to the piano and started playing "Happy Birthday" , I had my horn so I joined in.
The beauty of the story is Nica had a reel to reel tape recorder( an old Wollensack) and recorded it.
In recent years that tape was re-discovered and I now have it.
During this same period my two best friends (trumpeter Lonnie Hillyer & saxophonist,Charles McPherson)(we had all
come to N.Y.together), were working on Mingus' band.
So I went in and sat in with that band one night.
The thing with Dizzy happened in Detroit in 1991, at the Detroit Jazz Festival.
I had been fronting an orchestra (The Detroit Jazz Orchestra) that consisted of a 10 piece string section, 3 horns and rhythm.
For this performance we added more strings a full band a 40 voice choir, arrangements by Barry Harris and Dizzy Gillespie as featured soloist, in a production performance titled "Yardbird Suite".
Thus the tune herein (Signed; Dizzy with Love). The rest of the title refers to my 2 compositions and the Geri Allen composition.