Dizzy Gillespie

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Dizzy Gillespie
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JT's first subscriber Dizzy Gillespie entertains cruisers aboard the SS Norway's Floating Jazz Festival in November 1985.
By Ken Franckling
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Dizzy Gillespie talks with (L to R) Budd Johnson, Jay McShann, Clifford Jordan and Walter Davis at a rehearsal for the "Year of the Bird" concert at Newport in 1980.
By Mitchell Seidel
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Dizzy Gillespie receiving the National Medal of Arts with President Bush and Mrs. Bush on November 17, 1989.
By David Valdez
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Chick Corea, Stan Getz, Nancy Reagan and Dizzy Gillespie at a rehearsal for the 1982 PBS program In Performance at the White House.
By Terry Arthur
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Dizzy Gillespie and admirers hang out on an early jazz cruise
By Ken Franckling
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Dizzy Gillespie with Bill Strickland at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, 1989
By Boyzell Hosey
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Dizzy Gillespie with Yugoslav musician and composer Nikica Kalogjera and fans (Zagreb, Yugoslavia, 1956).
By Courtesy of the Marshall Stearns Collection, Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University
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Jimmy Carter performs "Salt Peanuts" with Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach
By Karl Esch
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Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown and Sims go over some charts
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Dizzy and Cab Calloway baseball team. On the road with Cab Calloway's band, Milwaukee, Wisc., 1937
By Milt Hinton
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Stanley Turrentinte, Jon Faddis, Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie hang backstage
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illustration of Randy Brecker and Dizzy Gillespie
By Ken Rooker
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From Ken Burns' Jazz: Charlie "Bird" Parker and Dizzy Gillespie on stage at Birdland with a young John Coltrane (with sax) and Tommy Potter on Bass from Episode 7 ("Dedicated to Chaos," 1940-1945)
By Courtesy of Frank Driggs Collection
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JazzTimes founder, Ira Sabin, with Dizzy Gillespie
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Dizzy Gillespie
By Cliff Alejandro
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Tenor saxist Lester Young and pianist Count Basie in the foreground; behind (l-to-r) Dizzy Gillespie and Vic Coulson, trumpets; Leo Parker, alto sax; Mezz Mezzrow, clarinet; Kansas Fields, drums; and Junior Raglin, bass
By Gjon Mili
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John Coltrane with Dizzy Gillespie, The Olympia, Paris 1961
By Jean-Pierre Leloir

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JazzTimes’ first subscriber, the legendary trumpet player and jazz innovator Dizzy Gillespie, was born on October 21, 1917. He died of pancreatic cancer on January 6, 1993.

Google celebratied his birthday with a “Google Doodle” on their site. Anyone going to Google on that day saw an illustration of the trumpeter in the form of the Google logo.

Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina, but like many African-Americans in the early to mid 20th century, moved North to make his way in the world. He began his music career as a trumpeter in the horn section of various touring big bands, eventually finding his way into Cab Calloway’s band, along with Milt Hinton and other future jazz greats. In his early years, Dizzy was very much under the thrall of Roy Eldridge. But it was during his time with Calloway that Gillespie began to find his own voice. In addition, he met saxophonist Charlie Parker then and started to explore a new way of approaching music. The music that Gillespie, Parker, Thelonious Monk and others developed was called Bebop. And Gillespie became probably its most successful ambassador.

Gillespie was fired by Calloway after an incident in which one of the bandmembers threw a spitball near the bandleader who blamed it on Gillespie. The two men got into an argument which quickly escalated with Dizzy pulling a knife on Calloway, who fired the young trumpeter on the spot. That nearly apocryphal incident and other colorful stories of Gillespie with Calloway are included in a new book on Calloway—Hi De Ho: The Life of Cab Calloway—by Alyn Shipton.

Gillespie would go on to play with other big bands and orchestras including those of Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine, where he was reunited with Parker. Eventually the two began collaborating in the small group format, one which still resonates in jazz today. So too the approach of improvising over the chord changes of songs played in swinging breakneck tempos. Although Parker was perhaps the most virtuosic of the young beboppers, he was also the most meteoric, eventually succumbing to the effects of various substance abuses. Whether by default or design, Gillespie become the virtual high priest of bebop and his bent horn became a symbol of the idiosyncratic musical form of jazz.

Gillespie also had a keen interest in Latin and Cuban music. His collaboration with Chano Pozo was one of the earliest intersections between mainstream jazz players and Latin percussionists. Many of Gillespie’s songs have become jazz standards, including “Caravan” and “Night in Tunisia.” When he was younger, Gillespie once derided the stage antics of Louis Armstrong, who had been critical of the young beboppers, whose music he described as like “Chinese music,” in its inaccessibility. But in time, Gillespie and Armstrong established a relationship based on mutual respect. Gillespie himself turned out to have a similar public persona as Armstrong, mugging and clowning on stage, and being accessible to fans off stage, and also being a mentor to multiple generations of younger musicians. For the last 30 years or so of his life, Gillespie toured all over the world, often playing in places and countries heretofore unaccustomed to jazz. It was as if Armstrong had passed the torch to the younger Gillespie who became internationally known as the music’s most active ambassador.

Gillespie wrote an autobiography called To Be or Not Bebop in which he recounted his early years. He also made numerous appearances in the mass media, perhaps most famously on Sesame Street. His legacy has been kept alive not only by various trumpeters such as protégé Jon Faddis and Arturo Sandoval, but also by former bandmembers and collaborators, including John Lee, Paquito D’Rivera, Mike Longo, Danilo Perez and James Moody.

(By Lee Mergner)

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Artist’s website

www.dizzygillespie.org

Articles on Dizzy Gillespie

07/09/13    Farewells    By Paquito D'Rivera

Bebo ’n’ Dizzy

04/04/13    Albums    By Jeff Tamarkin

Legends Live
Dizzy Gillespie Quintet

03/20/13    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Original Show About Dizzy Gillespie Coming to Philadelphia

05/22/12    News    By Jeff Tamarkin

Arturo Sandoval to Pay Tribute to Dizzy at NYC Gig

10/21/10    News    By Lee Mergner

Google Celebrates Dizzy Gillespie on his Birthday

03/14/10    Franckling's JazzNotes    By Ken Franckling

Danilo Perez: Picking Up Where Dizzy Left Off

April 2009    The Archivist    By Scott Yanow

Bird in Time
Charlie Parker

May 2008    Features    By Dr. Curtis Sandberg

Jam Ambassadors

March 2008    The Archivist    By Scott Yanow

Hamburg, Germany February 29, 1956
Various Artists

December 2007    The Archivist    By Scott Yanow

Live at the 1971 Monterey Jazz Festival
Sarah Vaughan

December 2006    The Archivist    By Scott Yanow

Dizzy Digs Paris
Dizzy Gillespie

December 2006    The Archivist    By Scott Yanow

Dizzy Digs Paris
Dizzy Gillespie

November 2006    The Gig    By Nate Chinen

Dirrty Jazz

November 2006    Grooves    By Christopher Porter

Rebop: The Savoy Remixes
Various Artists

October 2006    Albums    By Mike Shanley

The Verve/Philips Small Group Sessions
Dizzy Gillespie

October 2006    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Dizzy's Divine Comedy

October 2006    Albums    By Mike Shanley

The Verve/Philips Small Group Sessions
Dizzy Gillespie

September 2006    News    By Laura Smith

Minton’s Playhouse: Back to the Future

January/February 2006    Top 50 CDs of 2005    By

Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945
Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker

January/February 2006    Top 50 CDs of 2005    By

Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945
Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker

December 2005    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Brand New Old Music

December 2005    Cadenza    By Gary Giddins

Brand New Old Music

November 2005    Albums    By Chris Kelsey

Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945
Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker

November 2005    Albums    By Chris Kelsey

Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945
Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker

September 2005    Features    By

50 LPs from 35 Years of JazzTimes, Part I

January/February 2005    Brass Tracks    By Harvey Siders

Salt Peanuts
Dizzy Gillespie

January/February 2005    Brass Tracks    By Harvey Siders

The Winter in Lisbon
Dizzy Gillespie

January/February 2005    Brass Tracks    By Harvey Siders

The Winter in Lisbon
Dizzy Gillespie

January/February 2005    Brass Tracks    By Harvey Siders

Salt Peanuts
Dizzy Gillespie

December 2004    Books    By Steve Futterman

Quintet of the Year
Geoffrey Haydon

September 2004    Final Chorus    By Nat Hentoff

Remembering Dizzy

June 2003    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Piano Jazz Radio Broadcast
Marian McPartland/Dave Brubeck

June 2003    Features    By Nate Chinen

George Wein: A Great Day in Washington

March 2003    Brass Tracks    By Larry Appelbaum

Matrix
Dizzy Gillespie

September 2002    Big Bands    By David Franklin

Things to Come
Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band

May 2002    Books    By Jeff Waggoner

You Can’t Steal a Gift—Dizzy, Clark, Milt and Nat
Gene Lees

May 2002    Trumpet Voluntary    By Larry Appelbaum

Live at the Royal Festival Hall, London
Dizzy Gillespie and the United Nations Orchestra

May 2002    Trumpet Voluntary    By Larry Appelbaum

Dizzy in South America Volume 3
Dizzy Gillespie

April 2002    Albums    By Larry Appelbaum

Monterey Jazz 1958-1980
Various Artists

November 2001    Photos    By

Blue Note: 20 Years of Being Blue

October 2001    Final Chorus    By Nat Hentoff

Dizzy’s Life Force Goes On

June 2000    Albums    By Doug Ramsey

Dizzy In South America, Vol. 1
Dizzy Gillespie

January/February 2000    Albums    By Bill Bennett

Dizzy's World
The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars

December 1999    Photos    By JazzTimes

Indelible Images VI

December 1999    Features    By

Jazz Artist of the Century: Artist's Poll

October 1999    Albums    By Jack Sohmer

Dizzy In South America, Vol. 1
Dizzy Gillespie

October 1999    Albums    By Jack Sohmer

Dizzy In South America, Vol. 1
Dizzy Gillespie

July/August 1999    Books    By Doug Ramsey

Groovin’ High: The Life of Dizzy Gillespie

December 1998    Photos    By Lee Tanner

Indelible Images 5

May 1998    Albums    By Harvey Pekar

Dizzy Gillespie 1945-6
Dizzy Gillespie

December 1997    Albums    By Willard Jenkins

Bird Songs
Dizzy Gillespie

Albums

Dizzy Gillespie 1945-6

Classics

Dizzy Gillespie 1945

Classics
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Bird Songs

Telarc
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Dizzy In South America, Vol. 1

Red Anchor
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Dizzy's World

Shanachie

Dizzy in South America, Volume 2

Consolidated Artists

The Gillespiana Suite: Paris Jazz Concert

Malaco Records

Paris Jazz Concert

Malaco Records

Volume 10, 1947

Masters of Jazz
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Dizzy in South America Volume 3

CAP
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Live at the Royal Festival Hall, London

Eagle Records

Volume 11: 1947

Masters of Jazz

Jazz Casual

E1 Music

Things to Come

MCG Jazz

Odyssey 1945-1952

Savoy
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Things to Come

Telarc
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Matrix

Castle
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The Winter in Lisbon

Milan
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Salt Peanuts

Just a Memory

Dizzy: The Music of John Birks Gillespie

Verve

Dizzy Gillespie: Career 1937-1992

Shout Factory
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Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945

Uptown
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The Verve/Philips Small Group Sessions

Mosaic Records
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Dizzy Digs Paris

Giant Steps
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Monterey Jazz 1958-1980

Quicksilver
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Hamburg, Germany February 29, 1956

Fresh Sound Records

Live at the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival

Monterey Jazz Festival
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Piano Jazz Radio Broadcast

Jazz Alliance
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Showtime at the Spotlite

Uptown
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