Doc: Dizzy Gillespie, 1990

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In 1990, a documentary about trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie was released that featured not a word of voiceover narration. Instead, To Bop or Not to Be: A Jazz Life, by Norwegian director Jan Horne, simply featured musician interviews in English, concert performances and archival footage. My guess is this approach was favored so the filmmakers wouldn't have to translate or provide subtitles for non-Norwegian viewers. The result is a surprising film without guardrails that showcases the exceptionalism of Gillespie—his musicianship, his humor and his modernist invention called bebop. Here's the documentary...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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