Friday, 25 January 2013


I’m listening to Dizzy Gillespie.

I don’t know why he has been so forgotten here in England, he shouldn’t have been. It’s a really cheap, bad CD. A collection of old 78’s from the 1940’s. I would never have bought it except his stuff is so hard to get (I know, I know, use the net). Thrown together without a lot of thought, because they are out of copyright and Dizzy has a name they could sell.

And his trumpet hadn’t even got sat on yet.

And yet it sounds great, not so far off how it would have sounded back then; full of youth and fire and the new.

Strange really. He and Charlie Parker pretty much invented Bop and his early bands put together many of the major be-bop artists and some others; there’s a young Milt Jackson in there, whacking the vibraphone like a wild thing, rather than in the quiet way he does with the rather respectable Modern Jazz Quartet. They always walked a tightrope between “hotel-foyer” jazz and great jazz.

I don’t know why Dizzy got forgotten here, he came over a lot in the 1960’s.  Then again, Parker isn’t so popular either. Maybe people are frightened of Bop.

Can’t imagine it happening in America.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

No comments:

Post a Comment