Dizzy: The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie

Dizzy The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie Dizzy Gillespie has secured his place in the jazz pantheon as one of the most expressive and virtuosic improvisers in the history of music But he was much than that As one of the primary creators of t

  • Title: Dizzy: The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie
  • Author: Donald L. Maggin
  • ISBN: 9780688170882
  • Page: 398
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dizzy Gillespie has secured his place in the jazz pantheon as one of the most expressive and virtuosic improvisers in the history of music But he was much than that As one of the primary creators of the bebop and Afro Cuban revolutions, he twice fundamentally changed the way jazz improvisation was done And he later extended his revolutionary reach by transforming tDizzy Gillespie has secured his place in the jazz pantheon as one of the most expressive and virtuosic improvisers in the history of music But he was much than that As one of the primary creators of the bebop and Afro Cuban revolutions, he twice fundamentally changed the way jazz improvisation was done And he later extended his revolutionary reach by transforming the aesthetic of big band jazz.This vivid biography chronicles Dizzy s saga from the lowest rung on the American social and political ladder to the highest Born black in fiercely racist Cheraw, South Carolina, in 1917, Dizzy combined great energy, a furious drive to succeed, and a one in a million talent to climb quickly out of rural poverty to a role among the Swing Era jazz elite before his twenty first birthday.Author Donald L Maggin shows how, with bebop during the late 1930s and early 1940s, Dizzy and four colleagues Charlie Parker, Kenny Clarke, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Christian radically expanded the rhythmic and harmonic foundations of jazz And he illustrates how Dizzy and Mario Bauz recast the music duing the late 1940s by enriching it with invigorating and exciting Afro Cuban polyrhythms He also relates how Dizzy and his colleagues endured a torrent of criticism before their innovations were accepted into the mainstream.Dizzy s story takes us on the road with the great Calloway, Hines, and Eckstine bands and to Cheraw s cotton fields, Harlem s afterhours clubs, the teeming 1940s Fifty second Street jazz scene, the rhythmic barrios of Havana, Rio s samba festivals, the White House, and the world s great concert halls as Dizzy teamed up with prodigious talents to make great music during a career spanning fifty five years It also records his spiritual growth over the decades and the intense love he earned from those close to him.As an entertainer Dizzy combined his electrifying musicianship with an infectious warmth and rare comedic skills, becoming beloved worldwide and achieving a popularity that few jazz musicians have ever enjoyed.

    One thought on “Dizzy: The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie”

    1. The story of one of the primary creators of Be-Bop and Afro-Cuban music trumpeter John Birks Gillespie. This journalistic telling of Dizzy's humble beginnings in the rural south, to him becoming world renowned through his innovations in his chosen art form. This reading is a blend of musicology, and a who's who in the world of jazz music.

    2. He begins Dizzy's bio with a detailed history of the white people who owned Dizzy's patrilineal ancestors. It was a poor choice. It centers whiteness. It is otherwise detailed, some times excessively, but there is the titular reference to both the life and times and he certainly fleshes out the times. A lot of musicological language and analysis, which the author takes great pains and pages to explain. I feel like I learned a great deal.

    3. This is a simple biography of talented man. Since the life of Dizzy Gillespie ran parallel with WWII, the Civil Rights movement and the 60's (whatever that decade was about) it is safe to say that following his tale is to follow America through decades of promise and pratfalls. Plus, the guy could just play. Those first recordings of "Salt Peanuts" are like hearing basement tapes from late 80's Seatle or seeing a scrawny Bob Dylan in the Village; they're raw, fun and exciting.

    4. This book goes into great detail about Dizzy and all the musicians he played with. It is interesting to read about be-bop and how it all got started. The book also goes into great detail about the structure of the rhythms and methodology of Dizzy's playing. This is great if you are a music buff and a fan of Dizzy, Duke, Ella, Charlie and the gang.

    5. interesting life this guy had.writing is kind of dry and tends to get into muical technicalities that i am unable to follow not being a musician myself. think i might be better off reading the man's own memoirs? yeah probably!

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