By: Natasha Archary
The birth of Afro-Cuban jazz can be traced to trumpeter Mario Bauza. Buaza introduced Dizzy Gillespie to the Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo in 1947-1948. In the late 40’s Stan Kenton integrated Latin rhythms to his music and Afro-Cuban jazz caught on as one of the most popular jazz styles.
John Birks Gillespie, aka Dizzy Gillespie, is considered one of the most influential jazz figures. Collaborations with Charlie Parker brought about the birth of the genre Bebop which would go on to become the foundation of jazz.
Gillespie’s career kickstarted in the mid 1930s by working in prominent swing bands with Benny Carter & Charlie Barnet. Some of the most popular from Dizzy Gillespie includes “Oop Bop Sh’ Bam”, “Groovin’ High”, “Salt Peanuts” & “A Night in Tunisia”.
His love for his craft and passion for teaching meant he wrote down all his musical innovations and was eager to explain them to the next generation, thereby ensuring that Bebop would become the foundation of jazz. With a career that spanned more than 50 years, it was a well deserved tribute in 1989 when he received a Lifetime Award at the National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences Grammy Awards Ceremonies.
Some of Dizzy’s best songs include:
Behind the moonbeam
Shim Sham Shimmy on the St. Louis Blues