William L. Maggin Dizzy: The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie Harper Collins ISBN: 0-688-17088-9 2005
With the exception of Louis Armstrong, there's probably been no major artist in jazz as beloved as Dizzy Gillespie. A brilliant musician and innovator who helped launch two of the music's key movements - bebop and Afro-Cuban jazz -Gillespie was also one of the great showmen in jazz and one of its true global ambassadors.
He's also a rarity among the legends of his era in that he lived what appears to have been a remarkably happy life free of the usual jazz clichés - he wasn't a junkie (though he drank and smoked plenty of marijuana), he had a long marriage (though he frequently cheated on wife Lorraine) and he didn't die obscure and penniless (he earned at least $1 million a year at the end of his life and resided comfortably in suburban New Jersey). He also brought a cheeky sense of humor (often getting him into trouble in his youth) to an art form that often takes itself far too seriously.
Donald Maggin's sympathetic new biography traces Dizzy's extraordinary journey from a boyhood in deeply racist '20s South Carolina through apprenticeships in the big bands of Cab Calloway, Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine to his emergence in the late '30s and early '40s as one of the primary creators (along with Bird, Monk, Kenny Clarke and Charlie Christian) of the then-revolutionary bebop sound. Gillespie didn't stop there, of course, leading a series of important big bands and small groups, while becoming one of the most recognizable faces in jazz over the next 50 years.
Maggin, a writer/businessman/concert promoter and former presidential adviser who knew Gillespie over many years, brings both a scholar's knowledge and a fan's enthusiasm to this nearly definitive biography of one of jazz' truly towering figures. It's a life worth celebrating and a book worth reading.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
We sent a confirmation message to . Look for it, then click the link to activate your account. If you don’t see the email in your inbox, check your spam, bulk or promotions folder.
Thanks for joining the All About Jazz community!
Find All About Jazz articles, news, musician pages, and more!