Wonderful Tunes Provided By Friends. Wild Tangents Provided By Me.

Happy Birthday Dizzy!

Today would have been Dizzy Gillespie’s 93rd birthday! He was a pioneer, an educator, a virtuoso, and one of my all time favorite performers.

Dizzy was born in 1917 which was a great year for music. “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows,” “For Me And My Gal,” and “Tishomingo Blues” were all published that year along with “Darktown Strutters’ Ball.”

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One of Dizzy’s first professional jobs was with Teddy Hill’s Orchestra. Here’s “King Porter Stomp.” One of the You Tube commenters says this record has Dizzy’s first recorded solo!

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Of course, Dizzy is probably best know as one of the pioneers of the bebop sound in the 40s. Here is a video I had never seen. It’s from 1947 and the song is “He Beeped When He Should Have Bopped.” The blurb says it’s a soundie but I’m not sure. It really doesn’t matter though, it’s just a fun and rare look at one of the greats.

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Even though he contracted pancreatic cancer, Dizzy continued to work until 1993 which was the year of his death. Here he is in 1988 in a clip from a short lived jazz show. The song is “Tin Tin Deo” It’s a wonderful example of Afro-Cuban jazz which Dizzy also pioneered.

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Dizzy’s performances always had a great sense of humor and whimsy. So I leave you with one of my favorite clips from one of my favorite shows. Here’s Dizzy with some Muppets!

Happy birthday to one of the great ones.

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