New Wave (Dizzy Gillespie album)
New Wave (Dizzy Gillespie album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those puffed-out cheeks caught my attention whenever I’d see them on the television as a kid.  So did that bent trumpet that those cheeks would almost seemingly surround.  I used to look at the sight of it and think of how much power Dizzy Gillespie must have had when he’d play those jazz tunes, with all that air tucked away.

Some things happen in a “wonderfully accidental” way.  According to Dizzy’s autobiography, when a pair of dancers fell on Gillespie’s trumpet while it was on a stand in 1953, the bell bent upward at a 45-degree angle.  It changed the tone of his instrument, and Dizzy found that he liked that tone.  He played a horn like that from then on.  It became a part of that “Dizzy style.”

You need to get past the puffed-out cheeks and bent horn and really listen to what Gillespie was doing with the music to really appreciate what the man did in the world of jazz, though.  He played in a way that many found difficult to copy.

He brought along trumpeters like Miles Davis who would continue to enrich the jazz world.  Dizzy was like a skilled farmer planting seeds and treating them with care, bringing the most out of them.

Fans around the world have eaten it up ever since.


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