Six Videos: Big-Band Gillespie


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From his earliest days in the trumpet sections of big bands led by Teddy Hill, Cab Calloway, Les Hite, Lucky Millinder and Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie wanted to front an orchestra of his own. His first shot came in 1946 when he recorded for Musicraft and played New York cubs. His bebop band continued into 1947, '48 and '49, recording for RCA Victor. Throughout his career, Gillespie would be most at home fronting a big band or soloing in front of one.

Here are six clips of Gillespie and an orchestra: 

Here's Gillespie and his band in 1947 playing One Bass Hit in the film Jivin' In Be-bop. The band featured Dave Burns, Elmon Wright, Matthew McKay, John Lynch (tp); Al Moore, Taswell Baird, Gordon Thomas (tb); John Brown, Scoops Carey (as); James Moody, Bill Frazier (ts); Pee Wee Moore (bar); John Lewis (p); Milt Jackson (vib); Ray Brown (b); and Joe Harris (d)...

Here's Gillespie on He Beeped When He Shoulda Bopped in 1947...

Here's an hour of Gillespie in Copenhagen in 1968...

Here's an hour of Gillespie with the Kenny Clarke-Francie Boland Big Band in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1970...

Here's a half hour of Gillespie fronting the Ernie Wilkins Band at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen in 1983...

Here's Gillespie playing Con Alma and backed by an orchestra arranged and conducted by Robert Farnon in 1983...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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