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John Birchard

My Jazz Story

I was first exposed to a big-name jazz band at the first Birdland in New York (Broadway at 52nd Street). The band was Dizzy Gillespie's famous State Department band featuring such top artists as Lee Morgan, Billy Mitchell, Al Grey, Melba Liston, Phil Woods, Wynton Kelly and Charli Persip. with, of course, Dizzy leading the all-star crew. The club was crowded, the band was smoking, PeeWee Marquette was handling the emcee honors. Dizzy was brilliant - at the top of his form on trumpet, dancing to the music and brilliant as a stand-up comic. The music I heard that evening changed my life. As a result, I became a jazz disc jockey and have been associated with the music throughout my career. I am currently the host of an internet jazz show - www.cyberjazztoday.oom - at the age of 76. Or whatever else you have in mind.