Dizzy Gillespie would have been 93 today. Maybe not the most obvious of ages to celebrate, but Google did just that with a special Dizzy logo:
I sometimes think Gillespie’s a bit overlooked. Folk play lip service to him, but I’m not convinced he’s held in such high respect as his contemporaries Bird or Monk or Bud Powell. Maybe his clowning around, bent trumpet and strangely inflated cheeks make people think that he can’t be a serious musician; maybe it’s that it’s hard to single out a particular record as the definitive Gillespie recording; or maybe the history of jazz trumpet evolved in such a way that he was less of an influence than players like Miles Davis or Clifford Brown. But he was one of the greats, not just as a trumpeter but as one of the pioneers of both bebop and Latin jazz. So: Happy Birthday, Diz!
And here he is, playing “Tin Tin Deo”, which he co-wrote with percussionist Chano Pozo.
On a sadder note, saxophonist and academic Marion Brown died aged 79 earlier this week, after several years of very poor health. There’s an obituary and republished interview with him on the All About Jazz web site. His biography‘s on Wikipedia. I’m not all that familiar with his music – all I know are his contributions to Coltrane’s Ascension and Archie Shepp’s Fire Music – and I don’t think his best known album, Afternoon of a Georgia Faun, is currently in print. This version of Coltrane’s “After the Rain” has already appeared on several web sites, but I make no apologies for publishing it again here. I think it’s gorgeous.
Rest in peace, Marion.