Dizzentennial (100 years of Dr Gillespie)

October 21, 2017 at 1:47 pm (culture, jazz, modernism, music)

Dizzy Gillespie, born (Cheraw, South Carolina) Oct 21 1917 (died Jan 6 1993):

“He changed the face of jazz in three ways: first, he created  a totally original trumpet style which took virtuosity to undreamed-of limits, redefining the technical possibilities of the instrument; second, with (Charlie) Parker and others he established bebop as the valid contemporary style for both small groups and big bands; third, he changed the way jazz musicians behaved towards one another: whereas previous generations of musicians had been reluctant to share their knowledge with up-and-coming players, Gillespie proselytized, taught and encouraged musicians on all instruments, drawing them into the music and recommending them for various jobs. His generosity and his confidence in his own abilities were such that he assisted and nurtured the talents of potential rivals including Fats Navarro,  Kenny Dorham, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, and later Lee Morgan and John Faddis. If Bird (Parker) was the intuitive genius of bebop, Dizzy was the organizing genius, the passionate, rational force” (extracted from the entry on Gillespie, by Ian Carr, in Jazz – The Rough Guide [pub: 1995])


  1. les said,

    i remember when i first heard this tune. i was wearing a beret at the time.long live bebop!

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Great stuff, Les! Still got the beret?

    • les said,

      sadly, no. i lost it back in ’83 along with everything else i owned (including a collection of vinyl sides that covered everything from jug band music to karlheinz stockhausen) when the apartment i was living in burned down. fortunately, no one was seriously injured. but back to Dizzy, his playing always had such a warmth, and, i think, a real sense of humor. one of those records i lost had this tune on it played by these two estimable gentleman (although not from this concert), and of all the times it’s been recorded, i think this is the best version ever.

  3. Jim Denham said,

    What a sad story! At least you still have the music …

    (PS: the best version of ‘Sunny Side’, I’d say, after Louis’ … but I wouldn’t fight you over it).

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