Showing posts with label Dizzy Gillespie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dizzy Gillespie. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

DIZZY GILLESPIE

There is not one person around who knows jazz music that did not hear the name Dizzy Gillespie. Dizzy Gillespie was a composer, singer, jazz trumpet player and bandleader. He along with Charlie Parker was the creator of modern jazz music and bebop. Dizzy also started Afro-Cuban jazz. He had the gift of making new harmonies that were layered and complex. At the time, it was not done in jazz before. He was most remembered for the trumpet he played that was bent. It was accidentally ruined when he was on a job in 1953. Surprisingly, Dizzy liked it  because of the way it changed the tone of the instrument.

English: Dizzy Gillespie in a Concert, 1988, E...
Dizzy Gillespie in a Concert, 1988,  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dizzy was born John Birks on October 21, 1917 in South Carolina. He was the youngest in the family of nine children. His father was a horrible man who beat his children all the time, and died when dizzy was 10 years old. He taught himself how to play trumpet when he was twelve years old. He won a scholarship to Laurinburg Institute but, dropped out of school and went to Philadelphia to pursue music full-time. He played with Frankie Fairfax and recorded for the very first time in 1937. He then was a part of Cab Calloway's band, but was criticized for his solos, calling them "Chinese music". He was thrown out because Cab said that he sent a spitball at him, and Dizzy, angrily stabbed him in the leg with a knife.

Dizzy was a part of Duke Ellington's, Woody Herman and many other bands. It was with Billy Eckstine's band where his unique playing fit better than anywhere else. He met again with Charlie Parker. Together they played famous clubs such as Monroe's Uptown House, and Minton's Playhouse. This is where jazz music progressed again and bebop was created. In the beginning a lot of people didn't like bebop. They were used to the old jazz music, and thought the new sound of bebop was a threat and were afraid of it. Dizzy's style had an effect on trumpeters and the younger musicians that he was able to mentor. Examples of bebop music are "Groovin' High", "Salt Peanuts" and "A Night In Tunisia". Musicians that he taught bebop to were Miles Davis and Max Roach.

Eventually, the band departed, as the audience grew wary of the new jazz music. Dizzy wanted to go big, and tried to create his own big band in 1945 but was not successful with it. He started other small groups and finally put a big band together that was a success. He soloed many times with Jazz at the Philharmonic.


Dizzy proved himself overseas in France when he began his third big band, and did several concerts and albums.
During the 1940's Dizzy was composing Afro-Cuban music. Afro-Cuban music is a combination of Latin and African music, pop and salsa. The work that is the most well known are "Tin Tin Deo" and "Manteca". Dizzy was responsible for finding musician Arturo Sandoval while he was on a tour in Cuba researching music.

Dizzy continued to reach people with his music even on television and film. He was on Sesame Street and The Cosby Show. He died in 1993 from Pancreatic Cancer, he was 75 years old. He had two funerals, one was for friends and family and the other funeral was for the public in Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Dizzy Gillespie was a special innovator in jazz and is continually remembered at the New York Bahai Center.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

LOUIS ARMSTRONG: Transformation From Reform School to Infamous Trumpets

Head and shoulders portrait of jazz musician L...
Head and shoulders portrait of jazz musician Louis Armstrong. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Trumpets have been in existence since primitive times, but they did not really gain the recognition they deserved until the infiltration of jazz into the music world. When Buddy Bolden altered his own music style in the 1890's, it had the first inklings of what jazz music would become with its hearty spirit and spontaneity. He eventually lead the first genuine New Orleans jazz band. Continuing to invent jazz music was Freddie Keppard and Joe "King" Oliver playing the cornet as the lead instrument.

Then along came Louis Armstrong from a poor section of New Orleans where the heroes of the neighborhood were gamblers and pimps. His first music instrument, within the family of trumpets, was a long, tin horn that he would blast while working on a coal delivery wagon to let clients know the wagon was coming. At age 10 Louis Armstrong had earned enough money to buy a battered cornet in a pawnshop. By age 11 he had left school, left his job, and organized a street corner quartet. Unfortunately while on the street he committed some minor crimes and was sent to reform school at the age of 12. While in reform school Louis Armstrong joined the band and developed his talent. He became the leader of the band which changed his reputation. By the age of 13 he was back on the street and found small jobs to keep himself out of trouble.

As a teenager Louis Armstrong worked with professional musicians and joined Fate Marable's band playing on a riverboat in Mississippi. By his early twenties he could outplay any trumpets at cutting contests where soloists improvised until one was clearly outperforming the others. With the addition of 23 year old Lois Armstrong to the Fletcher Henderson band in New York, the band began to really swing with their new featured soloist. A year later he formed his own group in Chicago called the Hot Five. He organized the band and music around the solos which became one of the key characteristics of modern jazz.


Louis Armstrong became known as the father of modern jazz trumpets and the first modern jazz soloist. He greatly extended the range of trumpets as he could hit high notes that none of his peers could reach. His main contribution to jazz was his sense of rhythm which had a natural beat that made anyone listening want to get up and dance. Louis Armstrong taught the world how to really swing. He also taught jazz musicians how to extend the melodic line with improvisations on trumpets. Louis Armstrong used trumpets to belt out loud, sharp cutting sounds that commanded his listeners to pay attention. He had made trumpets the leading instruments with cornets virtually disappearing from the jazz scene.

Trumpets were not the only driving force in Louis Armstrong's career. Not only did he extend the range of trumpets, but he also showcased the extension of his own range of talents. He had a unique compositional and vocal ability, he was comedic, he had charisma, and he had charm. All of these talents wrapped up together made for a famously popular musician and showman.

    By Dianna Joseph
    Dianna Joseph is the owner of DJ Music Store. She is a saxophonist, novice pianist, and novice guitarist. In addition, she is an occupational therapist who works with a host of disabilities utilizing sensory integration and neurodevelopmental therapy in combination with music and a variety of other techniques to assist these persons in achieving the highest level of function and quality of life possible.
    Article Source: EzineArticles