Dizzy Gillespie, His Life. Essay

1113 words - 4 pages

On October 21,1917,John Birks Gillespie was born in Cheraw,South Carolina.He was the youngest of 14 childern.His father was a poor farmer and a skilled amateur musician.He played bass in his own band and owned all the instruments because most of the other players were so poor that they would sell the instruments for money to buy food if they had them.The town of Cheraw was primarily black town and was very poor.By the time John was 7,he was beginning to learn that noone would take care of him,and that the world was harsh.John looked back on his father as a disciplinarian,others just reguarded him as mean.He would come home and beat his children every week for"what they must've done while he was gone".As a child,John became fascinated with misic and played trombone in his band.One day his neighbor got a trumpet for christmas.He begged to try it when it wasn't in use.When he was 17,he had earned enough money from his job that he could move 50 miles north and live in a school dorm while he got an eaducation.He missed his family,and was having a hard time.He had to be in a club similar to 4h to pay tuition.He hated it.He was anxious to leave the school and make a living on his own.When his sister got married,he heard that her husband was moving them to New York city.He went with them to find a job.His brother Wesley soon moved there as well,so he and John lived in the same apartment.They shared expenses,but rarely saw each other.Wesley's schedule was a normal one,but John's often had him staggering home at 5:50 A.M.He was always searching for a permanent job,but all he could find were temp and fill-in jobs,which payed very little..Meanwhile,he was barely getting by.Since he was a child,his idol was a trumpet player named Roy Eldridge.John was thrilled to meet and finally replace him in the Cab Calloway band.He played 3rd trumpet,but was mainly an arranger for the band.Back then ,arrangers would often hand-write parts so they didn't have to pay a printer.One day the band was reading a chart and john couldn't read the misic.The band started calling him the Dizzy cat because he couldn't read the parts.On a gig one time,he was late and the director said"Where's Dizzy?!?".The audiance laughed.The band decided that the name would stick.Dizzy was having a hard time in the Calloway band.Most of the other,more experienced players didn't like him.While they were touring europe,the other players were saying that he was losing his"chopps"(skill),and prevented him from getting other jobs.They were thought to be jealous of his growing skill as both a player and as a "player".He would often be seen after show kissing passionatley with a new woman every show.They were often white,so he also had to fight off a lot of jealous boyfriends.Because of this,he ALWAYS carried a knife with him.This habit has lead to one of the most infamous stories in jazz history.One night,Dizzy was playing with the bannd and was taking a solo.During the solo,the drummer had lost the...

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