Dizzy Gillespie: From the Be to the Bop

General - Music, Jazz

Much of America's blues and jazz influences are deeply rooted in the rhythms and melodies of the rural South. One artist who has greatly contributed to these genres' continued popularity is South Carolina's own John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie. Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz. He taught and influenced many other musicians, including trumpeters Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan, Jon Faddis and Chuck Mangione. Noted as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Gillespie's complex style and compositions were difficult to copy.

Part jazz concert, and part discussion of his genius, the program explores Gillespie’s life and legacy through a group of South Carolina's finest jazz artists, all of whom have benefited from the influences of his music. Led by Gillespie's official biographer, Dr. Al Fraser, the musicians include:

  • Mitch Butler, director of Jazz Studies at Claflin University
  • Gene Dykes, leader of the Gene Dykes Jazz Orchestra
  • Dick Goodwin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at USC’s School of Music, and leader of the Dick Goodwin Big Band
  • Charlton Singleton, artistic director of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra

The unique story of his music will be told from both a historical and contemporary perspective, starting with a foundation that is deeply rooted in South Carolina.

Closed captioning has been provided for this broadcast program.

Dizzy Gillespie: His Legacy | Carolina Stories
Episode 4


The group discusses Dizzy Gillespie’s legacy, and what he meant to them, as a teacher, musician, and human being. Here, the song “Birks Works” is played by Charlton Singleton.
Dizzy Gillespie: Influence In Music | Carolina Stories
Episode 5


Dick Goodwin returns to talk with the group about Dizzy Gillespie’s personality, and how Dizzy was able to influence an entire generation’s interest in this style of music, with his motivation, and...