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Mike Longo: Keeping the Bebop Faith

From his work with Dizzy through his teaching today, the picture of dedication

Mike Longo

Mike Longo has a story that crystallizes his approach to playing music. It takes place at a college gig during his tenure as Dizzy Gillespie’s pianist, a chair he held for nine years during the ’60s and ’70s.

“We were playing a tune that Lalo Schifrin had written for us called ‘Incantation,'” he recalls. “It was a funk tune, and some kid yelled out, ‘Play some bebop!’ Dizzy got mad and he stopped the music, and he said, ‘Young man, everything we’re playing is bebop. Bebop is a concept!’

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