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Posts tagged ‘Dizzy Gillespie’

“In The Moody” And Other Nonsensical Phrases

Despite Dizzy’s claim, this song is not called “Turn Loose Them Chitlins Baby ‘Cause Daddy Wanna Grease Boogaloo” nor was it written by James Moody. It’s called “Cherokee” and it was written by Ray Noble in 1936. Moody interprets it masterfully of course. This performance is a 1968 concert in Copenhagen and, presumably it was filmed for television.

Judging by the slow rate of speech in the introductions, I assume the spoken parts were being translated. When Dizzy shouted the bogus title I felt a pang of sympathy for  the poor interpreter.  I’m not sure what Dizzy had in mind when he chose that particular phrase, but I know the interpreter had a Maalox moment when s/he heard it! I ran the subtitles through Google translator to see if I could make sense of what s/he came up with. Here’s what I got back “Drop dell are loose, my slut, for now Dad out here and souls.”  I have no idea what that means but I’m guessing it has nothing to do with eating boiled pig intestine (chitterlings).  Apparently it is funny though because the audience laughed right on cue. Of course no ethical interpreter would ever distort anyone’s message on purpose but mistranslations do happen sometimes which brings a question to my mind.  I wonder if most performers would be angry if they found out their joke had not been translated accurately if it got the laugh anyway.

P.S. I did a jive to English translation of Dizzy’s title then ran it through Google to create my own subtitle. Here’s what I got:

Giv mig grafinker baby. Far ønsker at spise. Boogaloo

I hope someone who speaks Danish runs across this at some point and tells me how close I got to what I wanted to say. BTW it blows my mind that there actually is a Danish word for chitterlings!

RIP James Moody

Jazz saxophonist and flutist James Moody died of pancreatic cancer Thursday. He was 85. Moody joined Dizzy’s band after he left the army in 1949 and the two men worked together off and on for decades. This clip is a wonderful example of the fun that resulted from their collaboration.

His original composition “Moody’s Mood For Love” is one of my 14 billion favorite songs. I think I’ll go queue that up on my iPod and remember a great musician. Thank you Mr. Moody and RIP.

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.”


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.

Bird And Dizz: What’s In A Name

I think nicknames were compulsory back in the early days of jazz. Thankfully the internet provided explanations for names this time so I could give my fevered imagination a rest. Dizzy got his because of his onstage antics. Bird told a friend his nickname came from his love of chicken. They called chicken “yardbird” back then because, apparently, nicknames for dinner were compulsory too.

Bird and Memories of My First Ride

Totally left field train of thought inspired by today’s video: I think the improved ability to detect and diagnose “disorders” in children is a mixed blessing at best. (Thought has nothing to do with my kiddo. She’s fine.)

Charlie “Bird” Parker was brilliant and, like many geniuses, left us too soon. The internet says there aren’t many live performances by him on film but You Tube has a few. I chose this one with pre-bent trumpet Dizzy Gillespie because I love them both. It’s from 1951 and the tune they’re playing is called “Hot House.” Apparently the two men were not friends. All accounts indicate that Charlie’s addiction did not make him very pleasant company. Luckily, for these two men, friendship was not a prerequisite for great music.

Back in the late 90’s when I lived in California I drove a 1978 Dodge. It didn’t have a rag top but a couple of the windows sorta worked. When the wind blew just right, I could actually detect the aroma of springtime orange blossoms over the scent of burning motor oil. To this day the smell of imminent engine failure makes me pine for my San Fernando Valley home.

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