As Dizzy's World Turns

Michael Bourne By

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A twist to this is that Eileen Fulton was the star of "As the World Turns" for years. She was the star at the beginning. She was the dangerous dame and then she as she got older she became the dangerous grandmother and then just more of a matriarch of the show. So she was on the show for decades and she got into jazz from listening to WBGO. She heard us on a fund drive offering (for a certain pledge) "you can come in and be a host for an hour and play any music that you want to play." She bought it and she came in. She wanted to be with me and she just brought in some records that she liked. We sat and talked and it was wonderful, she was a delight. Of course, I told her the story about watching "As the World Turns" with Dizzy, and I got to the point in the story where Dizzy shouted "that bitch! I can't believe that bitch is doing that" Eileen leapt up and said "I was that bitch!" She was so happy. She said she loved Dizzy. Dizzy used to come to the set of "As the World Turns." They wanted to get him on to the show eventually, like to have Dizzy playing at a country club dance. Some sort of soap opera shenanigans are going on, and over in the background there's Dizzy Gillespie playing. But it never worked that way. I never forget all the times that I hung with Dizzy. I heard him play so many times, but there was no moment quite like that moment of watching a soap opera with Dizzy Gillespie.

Naked Rhythm

Years later, he came back for his diamond jubilee, or whatever it was called, at the Blue Note (jazz club in New York). He had different groups every night. So I came down there. The woman who was representing him, Virginia Wicks, called me up and said he really wants to talk to you. I said "Really? I'm amazed that he remembers me." So I went down, and we sat in the dressing room at the Blue Note. And, again, I just printed whatever we talked about Dizzy was always on some other planet while he was earthbound at the same time. He was just a delightful person. He literally was surreal. He was literally like someone out of Alice in Wonderland. Michael Carvin used to play with him and Michael tells great stories. He says one night at the hotel (where they were staying) at like 4:00 in the morning, there's a knock on his door. He opens the door, and Dizzy was standing in the hallway of the hotel stark naked. He said "I got this great rhythm!" He used to demonstrate rhythms slapping with his hands. He started slapping this rhythm. Michael was looking at a naked Dizzy Gillespie slapping his hands with his rhythm, and all he could say was "that's really great Diz. Let's play something with that tomorrow." Dizzy walked naked back down the hall. There are thousands of Dizzy stories. Paquito D'Rivera and I did a show recently, and he was telling stories about Dizzy. He and I could just sit and tell Dizzy stories forever. More of them are flying into my head as I'm talking now.



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