“It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.”
– Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer and occasional singer.
Allmusic’s Scott Yanow wrote, “Dizzy Gillespie’s contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time (some would say the best), Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up copying Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, and it was not until Jon Faddis’s emergence in the 1970s that Dizzy’s style was successfully recreated . . . Arguably Gillespie is remembered, by both critics and fans alike, as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time.”
I must add that one of today’s finest trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, masterfully manages and operates Dizzy’s legacy. Dizzy was also a very good friend of Arturo and he helped him to get from Cuba to the United States. I have some contributions with Arturo Sandoval at the end of this page and will also write about Arturo later on.
Below are some nice examples of movies and videos that I hope you appreciate as much as I do.
Dizzy Gillespie – Jivin’ In Be Bop (1947)
Jivin’ in Be-Bop is a musical film produced by William D. Alexander and stars Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, which included notable musicians such as bassist Ray Brown, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and pianist John Lewis. The film also features singers Helen Humes and Kenny “Pancho” Hagood, Master of Ceremonies Freddie Carter, and a group of dancers. The film consists of a plotless revue presented in a theatrical setting, offering a total of 19 musical and dance numbers. Gillespie and his band are shown performing eight songs, including “Salt Peanuts”, “One Bass Hit”, “Oop Bop Sh’Bam”, and “He Beeped When He Should Have Bopped”. The band plays off-camera while dancers perform during the remaining songs, which include “Shaw ‘Nuff”, “A Night in Tunisia”, “Grosvenor Square”, and “Ornithology”. (Summary adapted from Wikipedia)
Cast (IMDB): Dizzy Gillespie as Himself; Freddie Carter as Master of Ceremonies; Sahji as Herself (Lead exotic dancer); Helen Humes as Herself (Lead singer); James Moody as Himself; Milt Jackson as Himself (Xylophonist); Ray Brown as Himself (Bass, Gillespie orchestra); Audrey Armstrong as Herself; Dolores Brown as Herself; Ralph Brown as Himself (Tap dancer); Dan Burley as Himself; Dave Burns as Himself; Benny Carter as Himself; Kenny Hagood as Himself (as Pancho); Henny as Himself; Johnny as Himself; Phil as Himself; Daisy Richardson as Herself; Ray Sneed as Himself (Expressionist dancer); Johnny Taylor as Himself.
Dizzy Gillespie’s Bebop Reunion (1975)
Featuring; Dizzy Gillespie (tr), Al Haig (p), James Moody (sax), Milt Jackson (vib), Kenny Clarke (dr), Ray Brown (b), Joseph Carroll (voc)and Sarah Vaughan (voc). Original concept and music supervision by Ben Sidran.
Dizzy Gillespie/Stan Getz: “A Night In Tunisia” in a rainy Nice (1978)
Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet; Barney Wilen, Stan Getz, tenor sax; Andy Laverne, piano; Rodney Jones, guitar; Mike Richmond, acoustic double bass; Mickey Roker, Billy Hart, drums, percussion at the Grand Parade du Jazz, Nice, July 14, 1978.
On the second segement Dizzy is accompanied by Hank Jones, Milt Hinton, J.C. Heard
Dizzy Gillespie, Arturo Sandoval and friends – “Night in Tunisia” live in Havana (1985)
This was a live recording of Dizzy and friends in Havana in 1985. “Night in Tunisia” was composed by Dizzy in 1942.
In 1985, Dizzy Gillespie returned to Cuba after an absence of 40 years. He was one of the first American jazz musicians to add Afro-Cuban elements to his music, and Cubans to his big band. Most notably, in the 40s, was percussionist, Chano Pozo.
A then-young Arturo Sandoval(tr) and Walter Davis (p) sit in with Dizzy’s band.
Arturo Sandoval – “Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You)”, (2012)
Arturo Sandoval releases his second album on Concord Jazz, Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You). The album is Sandoval’s tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, the mentor and friend who literally rescued him and his family from an oppressive existence and gave them a chance at an entirely new and better life. The album is a collection of classics from Gillespie’s massive body of work, each framed in big-band arrangements that throw the spotlight squarely on the elements of bebop that underscore so much of the iconic trumpeter’s work and set the tone for the music of his era.
Backing Sandoval on the project is a crew of top-shelf jazz artists: vibraphonist Gary Burton, Yellowjacket’s leader saxophonist Bob Mintzer, organist Joey DeFrancesco, clarinetist Eddie Daniels, saxophonist Ed Calle, drummer/producer Gregg Field and several others. Also along for the ride are a couple of unlikely but well-placed surprises – actors Andy Garcia on percussion and vocalist Manolo Gimenez. The resulting set is, as Field puts it, is Sandoval’s “love letter to an old friend.”