Although he treasures the time he spent playing with Gillespie, Roker has a different perspective as one who sat in Dizzy's drum chair. "Dizzy would run me crazy with those conga drums of his," he says. "He'd be playing the drums but he was no drummer; his rhythms would run me up the wall. But he would do anything to keep from playing his trumpet. Dance, sing, bang his rhythm stick and his congas, anything to keep from putting that horn in his mouth. He'd say he wanted to last as long as he could and the trumpet gets harder the older you get."
Roker knows firsthand, as he just took up the trumpet earlier this year. "It took me about three weeks to just get a sound out of it. I was trying too hard; you have to take it easy and relax and the sound just flows out. I like to learn new instruments, just for myself, it's a kind of therapy, keeps your mind active. I also play some flute and guitar and I have a piano downstairs I'm going to take a crack at one day. Ain't nothing more humbling than learning to play an instrument."
Gigi GryceThe Hap'nin's (1960)
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