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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.