With the air conditioning apparently on vacation, and the temperature rising to oppressive levels at Blues Alley last night, Dizzy Gillespie probably had sufficient reason to turn in a half-hearted performance. If he only knew how.

While patrons fanned themselves with menus, Gillespie opened in a typically playful manner. He introduced the members of hi w0003 ----- r e BC-06/16/83-DIZZY 06-16 0001 Dizzy Dazzles As Fans Sizzle

With the air conditioning apparently on vacation, and the temperature rising to oppressive levels at Blues Alley last night, Dizzy Gillespie probably had sufficient reason to turn in a half-hearted performance. If he only knew how.

While patrons fanned themselves with menus, Gillespie opened in a typically playful manner. He introduced the members of his quartet--to each other--and then began trading musical ideas with his guest, area trumpeter Vaughn Nark.

The two locked horns on a couple of engaging if lightweight tunes, built around the chord changes laid down by guitarist Ed Cherry and bassist Michael Howell. Both tunes really blossomed, though, whenever the trumpeters broke free of the melodies. Each displayed impressive technique, and upper register sorties were common, but Gillespie's muted lyricism was particularly appealing.

More satisfying and certainly more cohesive from a group standpoint, however, was Gillespie's rendition of Don Redman's "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good." With abundant charm Gillespie sang the first chorus before inspiring the rest of the band--drummer Mickey Roker and percussionist Paul Hawkins--with his trademark bebop inflections.

Later, Gillespie also managed to salvage his classic "Night In Tunisia" (burdened by an overly long and flashy electric bass solo by Howell) with an unexpected and wonderfully expressive blues coda.

Gillespie appears at Blues Alley through Sunday.