I was four or five years old and living in France when I first saw Dizzy. Back then, taking a child to a club wasn’t quite the social faux-pas it is now and, to be honest, I am glad. That first meeting started me on a life-long love of jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz, Be-Bop and, of course, all things Dizzy Gillespie.
This page contains links I’ve gathered over time, including interviews, playlists, articles and various items related to Dizzy’s career. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
I am currenly re-reading his autobiography, To Be or not to Bop. I will post a review in the next few weeks.
I maintain several playlists for various aspects of Dizzy’s long career in music in my YouTube account.
Dizzy gave many interviews. I have a few in this playlist.
This playlist contains my favorite jazz tunes, the vast majority of which are related to Dizzy, but not all. I plan, eventually, to separate out Dizzy’s music from the rest…
Trumpeter Pays Homage to Dizzy Gillespie
By THOMAS STAUDTER Published: January 21, 2001
WHEN Jon Faddis, the trumpeter who is now the artist-in-residence at Purchase College’s jazz studies program, was 12, his parents took him to a supper club in San Francisco so he could hear his musical idol, Dizzy Gillespie, perform.After the show, Mr. Faddis said, he was introduced to the legendary trumpeter and band leader, ”but I was too shy to say anything to him.” ”So I promised myself the next time I met Dizzy I would talk to him — and I did,” Mr. Faddis continued. ”I was 15, and it was at the Monterey Jazz Festival. After he played we talked quite a bit. I’d also brought all of his records that I owned with me and he autographed each one.”
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Dizzy’s obituary in The New York Times
Dizzy Gillespie, Who Sounded Some of Modern Jazz’s Earliest Notes, Dies at 75Herman Leonard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Dizzy Gillespie, the trumpet player whose role as a founding father of modern jazz made him a major figure in 20th-century American music and whose signature moon cheeks and bent trumpet made him one of the world’s most instantly recognizable figures, died yesterday at Englewood Hospital in Englewood, N.J.Mr. Gillespie, who was 75, had been suffering for some time from pancreatic cancer, his press agent, Virginia Wicks, said.
In a nearly 60-year career as a composer, band leader and innovative player, Mr. Gillespie cut a huge swath through the jazz world. In the early 40’s, along with the alto saxophonist Charlie (Yardbird) Parker, he initiated be-bop, the sleek, intense, high-speed revolution that has become jazz’s most enduring style. In subsequent years he incorporated Afro-Cuban music into jazz, creating a new genre from the combination.
In the naturally effervescent Mr. Gillespie, opposites existed. His playing — and he performed constantly until nearly the end of his life — was meteoric, full of virtuosic invention and deadly serious. But with his endlessly funny asides, his huge variety of facial expressions and his natural comic gifts, he was as much a pure entertainer as an accomplished artist. In some ways, he seemed to sum up all the possibilities of American popular art. From Carolina To the Big Bands.
John Birks Gillespie was born in Cheraw, S.C., on Oct. 21, 1917. His father, a bricklayer, led a local band, and by the age of 14 the young Gillespie was practicing the trumpet. He and his family moved to Philadelphia two years later, and Mr. Gillespie, though he thought about entering Temple University, quickly began a succession of professional jobs.
He worked with Bill Doggett, the pianist and organist, who fired him for not being able to read music well enough, and then Frank Fairfax, a big-band leader whose orchestra included the trumpeter Charlie Shavers and the clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton. Mr. Gillespie was listening to the trumpeter Roy Eldridge, copying his solos and emulating his style, and was soon performing with Teddy Hill’s band at the Savoy Ballroom on the basis of his ability to reproduce Mr. Eldridge’s style.
According to legend, it was Mr. Hill who gave Mr. Gillespie his nickname because of his odd clothing style and his fondness for practical jokes. Mr. Gillespie began cultivating his personality, putting his feet up on music stands during shows and regularly cracking jokes. But by May 1937 he was also recording improvisations with the Hill band and helping the performances by setting riffs behind soloists.
Two years later, Mr. Gillepsie was considered accomplished enough to take part in a series of all-star recordings with Lionel Hampton, Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Chu Berry. He soloed on “Hot Mallets.”
That year, 1939, he joined Cab Calloway’s band, one of the leading black orchestras of the era. Though a dance band, its musicians, who included the bassist Milt Hinton and the guitarist Danny Barker, liked to experiment. Mr. Gillespie would work on the harmonic substitutions that eventually became be-bop. Mr. Gillespie was a regular soloist with the band, and by then his harmonic sensibility was beginning to take shape. Joining With Parker To Mold New Style
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Cab Calloway, in whose band Dizzy Gillespie once played, said of Gillespie, “Musically, the most important facet of Dizzy’s playing is not just his rhythm, harmony, chord changes or his technical facility alone. It’s the whole thing. Knowing that horn, he can do anything with it.” He knew his horn so well that the sounds coming from it helped reshape the musical landscape — and the audience for it.
To those who love this music and the fascinating culture associated with it, Dizzy Gillespie was indeed jazz music’s “ambassador.” He projected creativity, ambition, personality, and, unlike many in his field, sensibility. His influence on music is well documented, and his style — framed by dark glasses, goatee and beret — set the tone for an entire generation searching for a definition of “hip.”
Saxophonist James Moody, whose significant achievements include employment in a variety of Gillespie’s best groups, and journalist Nat Hentoff, whose chronicles on jazz during Gillespie’s era were the benchmarks of his craft, remember Dizzy and his remarkable life with Jerry Jazz Musicianpublisher Joe Maita in a March 19, 2004 conversation.
To read Jerry’s Jazz Musician interview by Joe Maita with Nat Hentoff and James Moody, click here.
Curated from www.jerryjazzmusician.com