Groovin' High: Dave Douglas Shares Top Five Dizzy Tracks


Dave Douglas image courtesy artist, Dizzy image by William P Gottlieb, courtesy Library of Congress

News | Feb, 16th 2018

Trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas returns to The Appel Room with another one-of-a-kind program February 23rd and 24th. In Dizzy Atmosphere, Douglas will use Gillespie repertoire as a starting point for improvisation and exploration.

Joining him is a powerhouse group of improvisers and composers known for their thoughtful and exciting contributions to practically any musical context: trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Linda May Han Oh, drummer Joey Baron, and guitarist Bill Frisell.

Ahead of the performance, we asked Dave to share five Dizzy tracks that have him Groovin' High.

One of the special things about Dizzy Gillespie’s music and legacy is how many people he touched. Talk to anyone who spent time with him and played with him, and you hear about the humanity, the humor, the positive outlook and the profound depth of his experience. I’m humbled to be among these acolytes.

Jazz at Lincoln Center asked me to list some tracks that excite me, in advance of the premiere of my new project, Dizzy Atmosphere. These are a few recordings that have inspired me over the last year and a half working on the project, Dizzy Gillespie at Zero Gravity. Can’t wait to hit the stage with these wonderful musicians: Ambrose Akinmusire, Bill Frisell, Gerald Clayton, Linda May Han Oh, and Joey Baron.


Dizzy’s first known recorded solo, with Teddy Hill and His Orchestra. Great original song by Jelly Roll Morton, recorded by many artists through the years. Dizzy puts his stamp on the phrasing early on—this session puts him among his elders and mentors.


Early Dizzy Gillespie composition, written for Cab Calloway, one of his early important engagements. Hits a great stride right away, lots of swinging details within the ensemble work, and a great example, for me, of musicians playing together collaboratively to achieve a great effect. Always leads to one of the enduring questions in listening to composers in jazz and improvised music: How did they do that? What did they say to the musicians to get them to make that sound?


One of the earliest examples of Afro-Cuban collaboration and this became one of Dizzy’s standards known as Woody n You. One of the great things about hearing this version is to note how much the piece grew and changed over the years. Listen to any later Gillespie recording of this piece and you’ll hear all the new corners and angles that accrued over time. Many of them added by other artists in homage to Dizzy.


A friend, upon hearing this, said, 'I’ve never heard anything quite so bebop.' Maybe it’s the tritones (flatted fifths or raised fourths)? Maybe it’s the lyrics? Anyway, it was composed for Dizzy’s band by Mary Lou Williams. Classic performance with a great Dizzy solo and superb ensemble work. And they got to Oo-Bla-Dee 20 years before the Beatles.


One of the many amazing things about this recording is that it features the young trumpeter Lee Morgan as a soloist in Dizzy Gillespie’s big band. An inspiring gesture from Dizzy—to be so generous as to promote the younger trumpeter who was clearly finding his own way in the music. Other than that, one must point out the fluidity of the band moving through this arrangement. They sound like one person. And when compared to the original studio recording of this piece, the sense of progress, movement and growth is palpable.

These are just five of the many reasons I love Dizzy Gillespie.

#DizzyForPresident

-Dave Douglas


read more

Live music fans rejoice: our new, star-studded album United We Swing captures electric improvisers such as Eric Clapton, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, John Mayer, and Lenny Kravitz playing live alongside the Wynton Marsalis Septet.

read more

As United We Swing: Best of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Galas—the upcoming album from the Wynton Marsalis Septet—demonstrates, there's a lot of common ground between jazz and country-western music.


popular


Duke Ellington

The Essential Ellington: How Duke Ellington Changed Jazz Forever

Nobody in the history of jazz expressed himself more freely; or with more variety, swing, and sophistication than Duke Ellington. Listen to our playlist of essential Ellington recordings and find out how he changed jazz forever.

read more
Nina and Nat

And the Inductees Are… Your Choices for the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame

Find out who the three 2018 inductees into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame are! All three made an indelible impact on America's music and influenced millions in the process.

read more
Ahmad Jamal - Photo by Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Another 10 Essential Jazz Albums

Here's a list of 10 more must-have classics for to round out your collection of jazz records.

read more
Thelonious Monk at the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival with his children, T.S. and Boo Boo.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Thelonious Monk, by His Son T.S. Monk

Celebrate Thelonious Monk’s Centennial by getting to know the legend through his son’s memories.

read more
Chick Corea - photo by Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Chick Corea: Five Essential Albums

Chick Corea is one of the most influential figures in jazz and one of the greatest living jazz pianists. In advance of his trio’s July 4 performance in Highland Park, IL, at the Ravinia Festival alongside the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, here are five essential albums from his discography.

read more
Wynton Marsalis performs on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Celebrating Spaces and The Abyssinian Mass with Colbert on The Late Show

Wynton Marsalis appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to perform with Jon Batiste, Stay Human, and acclaimed dancer Lil Buck. Check out video and behind-the-scenes content from their performance.

read more

10 Essential Jazz Albums

New to jazz and don't know where to start? With many artists and extensive catalogues of music, a new jazz listener can feel intimidated. We're here to help! Check out our list of 10 albums to get you started on your jazz journey and introduce yourself to some of jazz's great artists.

read more

A Visit to Clark Terry

On December 7, 2014 the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra drove 8 hours on an off day to play for Clark Terry on his 94th birthday. Victor Goines, James Chirillo, Ted Nash, Vincent Gardner, and Walter Blanding recall the day and the impact that Clark had on jazz.

read more

recommended


Gerald Cannon

Gerald Cannon Talks Dizzy's, His Early Days, & Love of Teaching

We sat down with Gerald Cannon ahead of his Memorial Day Weekend performances at Dizzy's.

read more
Will Calhoun

Will Calhoun Talks Individuality, Elvin Jones, and Dizzy’s

Discover how growing up in the Bronx shaped Will Calhoun’s appreciation for art and how Elvin Jones inspired him to define his individuality.

read more
Ornette Coleman

The Department Store Painting that Inspired Ornette Coleman and 5 Other Interesting Facts About His Life

Ornette Coleman led a life as fascinating as his music. Read up on some interesting facts about this jazz legend!

read more
Joe Temperley, by Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Notes from the Road: Remembering Joe Temperley

Before his passing in May, Joe Temperley spent 29 unforgettable years as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's baritone saxophonist and its beloved elder statesman. Between performances on their recent mini-tour of Canada, several JLCO members shared their memories of Temperley, who left behind an indelible legacy and a whole lot of stories.

read more

6 Underappreciated Jazz Artists You Should Check Out

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, so we thought we'd celebrate by delving into the careers of a handful of underappreciated jazz artists. Explore the careers of six musicians who deserve more accolades and learn the best places to start with their discographies.

read more