Dizzy Gillespie


Featured Inductee

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, along with Charlie Parker, ushered in the era of Be-Bop in the American jazz tradition. He was born Cheraw, South Carolina, and was the youngest of nine children. He began playing piano at the age of four and received a music scholarship to the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina. Most noted for his trademark "swollen cheeks", Gillespie admitted to copying the style of trumpeter Roy Eldridge early in his career.

He replaced Eldridge in the 'Teddy Hill' Band after Eldridge's departure. He eventually began experimenting and creating his own style which would eventually come to the attention of Mario Bauza, the Godfather of Afro-Cuban jazz who was then a member of the Cap Calloway Orchestra, joining Calloway in 1939, Gillespie was fired after two years when he cut a portion of the Calloway's buttocks with a knife after Calloway accused him of throwing spitballs (the two men later became lifelong friends and often retold this story with great relish until both of their deaths).

Although noted for his on and off-stage clowning, Gillespie endured as one of the founding fathers of the Afro-Cuban &/or Latin Hazz tradition. Influenced by Bauza, known as Gillespie's musical father, he was able to fuse Afro-American jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms to form a burgeoning CuBop sound. Always a musical ambassador, he toured Africa, the Middle East and Latin America under the sponsorship of the US State Department. Quite often he returned, not only with fresh musical ideas, but with musicians who would eventually go on the achieve world renown.

Among his proteges and collaborators are 'Chano Pozo'. the great Afro-Cuban percussionist; Danilo perez, a master pianist and composer originally from Pnama; Arturo Sandoval, trumpeter, composer and music educator originally from Cuba; Mongo Santamaria, an Afro-Cuban conguero, bongeuro and composer; David Sanchez, saxophonist and composer; Chucho Valdes, an Afro-Cuban virtuoso pianist and composer; and Bobby Sanabria, a Bronx, NY-born Nuyorican percussionist, composer, educator, bandleader and expert in the Afro-Cuban musical tradition. Indeed, many Latin jazz classics such as "Manteca", "A Night in Tunisia" and "Guachi Guaro [Soul Sauce]" were composed by Gillespie and his musical collaborators.

With a strong sense of pride in his heritage, he left a legacy of musical excellence that embraced and fused all musical forms, but particularly those forms with roots deep in Africa such as the music of Cuba, other Latin American countries and the Caribbean. Additionally, he left a legacy of goodwill and good humor that infused jazz musicians and fans throughout the world with the genuine sense of jazz's ability to transcend national and ethnic boundaries--for this reason, Gillespie was and is an international treasure.

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SWOSU Jazz Performed in Tulsa

Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s Jazz Ensemble ‘A’ is currently working its way around the state of Oklahoma on a special tour. The group has planned a special finale concert Friday evening at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa.

SWOSU Jazz Performed in Tulsa

SWOSU Jazz A Ensemble

November 2, 2015

By Paul Joseph, Paragon News Director –

Jazz out of SWOSU is making the rounds.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s Jazz Ensemble ‘A’ is currently working its way around the state of Oklahoma on a special tour. The group has planned a special finale concert Friday evening at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa.

The concert at the Jazz Depot, formerly known as Tulsa Union Depot, will be held at 7 p.m., and the public is invited to the free concert.

Other concert stops include performances at Kingfisher and Stroud high schools.

The depot is not only a concert venue but also hosts the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, which includes such Oklahoma raised jazz greats as Chet Baker and Charlie Christian among others as inductees. Joining Jazz ‘A’ on their tour is Oklahoma City trumpeter and SWOSU alum Kirk Palmer.  Palmer, one of the most in-demand trumpeters in OKC, is a regular on stages throughout Oklahoma.

The tour continues, in a manner of speaking, throughout the weekend with Jazz Ensemble ‘A’ and ‘B’ performing at the 2015 Miss SWOSU Pageant on Saturday, November 7; a concert on the SWOSU campus on Sunday, November 8, at 3 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center; and concluding in Stillwater on Monday, November 9, at the Oklahoma Jazz Educator’s Fall Workshop.

The Tulsa Jazz Depot is located in downtown at 5 South Boston Avenue in Tulsa.

- See more at: http://www.kecofm.com/2015/11/03/swosu-jazz-performed-in-tulsa/#sthash.utXitgnz.dpuf
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