Dizzy Gillespie deservedly ranks amongst the most influential and innovative Jazz musicians of all times. Every note played with his trumpet captivated a legion of devout followers from all different age demographics and cultural backgrounds. Only Males Davis and Louis Armstrong can tread the waters of his talent and his ever- growing legend, which was propelled by his revolutionary style. The Bebop revolution would have been a real yawner without notable Dizzy Gillespie tracks and stunning collaborations with top artists from the time period.
He played alongside read musicians like Cab Galloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Earl Hines, Duke Longtime, Billy Stickiness, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, Theologies Monk, Max Roach and Coleman Hawkins. His career was well decorated with a mantle full of awards and memories of elated crowds from the most legendary venues in the country. Countless times the collective sigh of the crowd would be followed by wide-eyed enthusiasm, dancing and an eruption of applause. John Birds Gillespie was born in Chewer, South Carolina In 1917 (Cocky, 1997).
He grew up In a modest, blue collar family of nine children, and enjoyed a childhood of love and dullness (Cocky, 1997). His upbringing no doubt helped him avoid some of the common pitfalls many popular musicians faced. In addition to laying bricks, his father was the leader of a local band (Cocky, 1997). Dizzy was often exposed to many different instruments and unique styles of music, often times experimenting with the instruments while his father was gone (Horrific, 1984).
Intrigued by music Dizzy began his fast-track toward perfecting his craft early in life, a brand of enthusiasm towards learning that never left him. Dizzy began playing the trombone at the age of fourteen, but soon found true love after experimenting with a neighbor’s rumple (Cocky, 1997). By the age of eighteen, Gillespie found employment in the music business, when he began playing with the Frank Fairfax band, under the close eye of his early mentor, Roy Eliding, who Dizzy later replaced in the Teddy Hill band ;n 1937 (Horns, 1984).
The birth of Bebop music was built on a salary evolutionary process that has taken over many different art forms since the beginning of human history. There was a yearning for change and a desire to break the binding chains of the standard New Orleans jazz, Dixieland, and Swing music (Cocky, 1997). In the sass’s Dizzy Gillespie ND a legion of young and talented musicians went to war against traditional Jazz music and forged a new modern landscape of immense record sales, popularity and fame. The creation of Bebop catered to the would-be gods of jazz, because their talent rose to the top.
Musical characteristics of Bebop shifted away from simple melody variations and moved towards intense improvisation and difficult harmonic progressions (Horrific, 1984). There was an air of confidence brewing amongst the young innovators and a sense of pride in maintaining their dominance. Dizzy Gillespie said this about the subject, “There were some who couldn’t blow at all but loud take SIX or seven choruses to prove It. So on afternoons before a session Theologies Monk and I began to work out some complex variations on chords and the like, and we used them at night to scare away the no-talent guys (Horrific, 1984, p.
The crucible that bred the Bebop style was New York City and the famous Mouton’s Playhouse (Cocky, 1997). This venue can be viewed as a more of a laboratory of modern Jazz experiments than a simple small club. This intimate setting was seemingly the only place in the world capable of understanding what they were witnessing (Horrific, 1984). The pages of Jazz history were being penned directly in front of the crowd, on a small stage, of a small club owned by former Harlem saxophonist Henry Into (Cocky, 1997).
Under the watchful eye of Teddy Hill the musical direction of the club shifted in favor of up-and-coming musical acts like Dizzy, Charlie Christian, Theologies Monk and Kenny Clarke (Horrific, 1984). Dizzy Gillespie stint with the Teddy Hill band netted him $45 a week, and more importantly, his future wife Lorraine Willis (Horrific, 1984). Soon his talent landing him a spot in Cab Galloway band, which led to his first recording as a soloist, which included classics like Picking’ the Cabbage, Hard Time and Bye-Bye Blues (Horrific, 1984).
Dizzy spent a great deal of time trying to unravel the mystery of what exactly he was trying to play. His Journey of self discovery happened at the expense of many “serious musicians,” who didn’t dare move off the beaten path. Tizzy’s erratic style of music caused a great deal of friction amongst his band mates (Davis, 13). He was getting closer to perfecting his style, but it didn’t stop people’s confusion and serious doubt of his skill. His ability to play fast and his musical flexibility helped to later org a deep musical connection with Mad Monk and Charlie Parser’s style (Davis, 15).
In 1941 the unhappy marriage of Dizzy and the Cab Galloway band disbanded, perhaps for the betterment of their careers. The divorce didn’t happen without drama and Gillespie well-deserved reputation as a prankster had put his professional career in Jeopardy. Dizzy was in the midst of a heated altercation when he was falsely accused of firing spitballs during a performance (Cocky, 1997). This incident never changed his delightful personality, but it did bring about a sharp increase in maturity and reliability (Horrific, 1984).