In my mind, Dizzys been waiting here for years. Sometimes singing or dancing, sometimes shakin a tambourine... but always playing that trumpet. You know the one, bent upwards at a 45 degree angle, thanks to the clumsy dance duo Stump & Stumpy and Dizzy's willingness to make the best of a ... situation.
Dizzy Gillespie swings eternally at the corner of straight up jazz, Latin rhythm and Bebop. But, it wasn't until a few weeks ago, that I actually met the music and quirky performance style of Mr. Dizzy Gillespie. I admit, for a Jazz kitten, I'm late to the party but, better late than never.
And I imagine him now, Dizzy Gillespie from the '60s, cool goatee, beret, and black rimmed glasses, framing that glimmer in his eye. I imagine him, holding the door for me, ushering me into his club... "I've been waiting for you Lanzzzz...." He whispers as I walk paste him, into his musical world (TYSM YouTube).
Directly across from the entrance, a sign reads "No spit balls" with a naught sign through Cab Calloway's mug - I have so many questions...
But mostly I marinate in this perfect place. Thankful that a good friend sent me the invitation and Pop gave me clear directions on how to get here. When Pop told me the story of when he met Mr. Gillespie with his best friend, a big band drummer named Rob, I knew it was time for a visit.
The story goes like this...
My parents and their best buddies, Rob and Bobbie (a big band drummer and singer) walk into a bar... Blues Alley of DC Jazz legend.
They were there to see Dizzy Gillespie, it was 1993.
After soaking it all in and savoring every note, the cats began to shuffle out of the club... smiling, laughing and feeling whole. Everyone was moving towards the door except for a few people.
One stragler, Pop's friend Rob stood still... Staring, mouth agape, at the bar with wide eyes. There was DIZZY...The potential for an epic "get" was overwhelming. His heart raced, lead feet stuck to the ground while his mind flitted all about.
"Steve," without breaking his gaze, Rob tapped Pop on the shoulder "Dizzys at the bar...."
Pop smiled, "Well... What are you waiting for? Go talk to him, get his autograph! "
But Rob vamped...
Pop wasn't going to let him stand there,
Pushing Rob in the direction of the bar he grunted with his final push, "you only live once!"
And that's how it happened.
After a few minutes of Rob's starry eyed back and forth with Dizzy, he returned, high on life and holding an autographed napkin. Treasured proof.
Just a few months later, Mr. Gillespie ascended to the eternal Jazz club in the sky...
Rob thanks my father on a regular basis for shoving him towards epic greatness that night. A meeting that he will never forget.
And actually, neither will I. After Pop told me this story my creeping and crawling music obsession began to take hold. I had to hear more, I had to know more about this man, who everyone else already knew and loved.
I found so much beauty with my nose to the ground... I was on high doses of my new friend Dizzy and then I found this ⬇️.
An August, 1966 BBC2 "Jazz 626" version of "No more Blues!" (Chega de Saudade). It's Latin rhythm drew me in off the street, floated me towards that pie on the window sill (ala Looney Tunes imagery). I knew I had found something extra special to share. So, here you go!
This is gonna swing you right. And, on top of EVERYTHING else... Dizzy shakin it on the tambourine will have you smiling #ALLDAY!
Dizzy Gillespie and his Quintet as seen above is:
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