Google pays fine tribute to the jazz legend, who would have been 93 today. The trumpeter essentially started the bebop and Afro-Cuban styles of jazz. Gillespie even ran for president in 1964 — the inevitable conclusion of a joke gone too far. I think we can all agree he would’ve made a much cooler president that Lyndon B. Johnson, yes?
Anyways, if you’ve never bothered to listen to Gillespie, two essential albums to start with are his duet concert with Charlie Parker, “Diz’n Bird at Carnegie Hall” and the live recording “Jazz at Massey Hall.”
Massey Hall is probably the greatest jazz concert ever caught on acetate — featuring the super duper team of Dizzy on trumpet, Charlie Parker on sax, Max Roach on drums, Charles Mingus on bass, and Bud Powell on piano. It’s the murderer’s row of jazz musicians, the only time all five shared the stage together and it’s the last time Gillespie and Parker shared the stage as well. The concert took place on May 15, 1953 at Toronto’s Massey Hall.
Seriously, listen to “Salt Peanuts” — perhaps my favorite jazz tune — from the Massey Hall performance and tell me your head didn’t just explode.