Visit this artist's website: http://www.dizzygillespie.org
One of the most innovative and influential figures in 20th century music passed away on January 6, 1993, at the age of 75. Years later, some of his closest musical disciples continue to celebrate the master's classic compositions - and his enduring spirit.
The A DIZZY 100TH CELEBRATION ALL-STAR BIG BAND, a veritable who's who among players, was formed in the summer of 1998 to perform Dizzy Gillespie's classic big band repertoire and continue the wonderful jazz legacy left by the late John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie.
The band is comprised of many Gillespie Alumni including his closest collaborator James Moody, his former musical director Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Claudio Roditi, Antonio Hart, Douglas Purviance, and executive director John Lee, Gillespie's longtime bassist. Roy Hargrove, Paquito D'Rivera, Frank Wess, and Randy Brecker frequently appear with the band when schedules permit.
The arrangements written for Gillespie's big bands may be vintage, many of them come from the mid 1940s to the mid '50s, but they can hardly be described as "old" or "dated." They continue to stimulate and challenge jazz musicians just as they continue to dazzle and delight audiences the world over. Some written by Gillespie himself, others commissioned by Dizzy from among such distinguished arrangers as Quincy Jones, Gil Fuller, Ernie Wilkins, Tadd Dameron, and Benny Golson. New arrangements are being contributed by two-time Grammy-winner for arranging, musical director Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, and Dennis Mackrel.
Over the past twelve months the band has performed in Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Monaco, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Wales. The Dizzy Gillespie™ All-Star Big Band's first CD Things to Come was released in 2002 on the MCG Jazz label. Their second CD for the label Dizzy's Business is currently in production and will be released September 18, 2006.
Slide Hampton, a master trombonist, composer, arranger, and teacher, is a formidable champion of the jazz tradition. His mission to bring jazz to audiences around the world has placed him as the international ambassador of jazz. Hampton worked with Gillespie on and off since the 1960s, spending a significant amount of time with Gillespie starting in 1988 while serving as musical director, along with Paquito D'Rivera, of the United Nation Orchestra. Hampton also served as musical director for "Dizzy's Diamond Jubilee", a year-long celebration in honor of Gillespie's 75th birthday year.
James Moody received an alto saxophone as a gift from his uncle at the age of 16. Within a few years, Moody moved to the deeper sound of the tenor saxophone after hearing Buddy Tate and Don Byas. Upon his discharge from the United States Air Force in 1947, Moody joined the influential bebop big band of Dizzy Gillespie and then recorded with trumpeter Howard McGhee and vibraphonist Milt Jackson. The following year, Moody made his recording debut as a band leader in James Moody and His Bop Men for Blue Note, using players from the Gillespie big band. While living in Europe, Moody recorded his famous "Moody's Mood For Love." Upon returning to the United States, Moody rejoined Gillespie in 1963, performing with Gillespie for the rest of the 1960s.
John Lee, bassist, composer, educator, and producer, was the program director for "'Dizzy': The Man and the Music", the official concert and clinic program celebrating the life and work of John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie. Lee joined the Dizzy Gillespie Group in 1984 and was a member of Gillespie's various bands including the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, the 70th Anniversary Big Band, and the United Nation Orchestra. Lee played with Gillespie until he became ill in 1992.