Salute to Dizzy Gillespie | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Salute to Dizzy Gillespie 

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The tributes to John " Birks" Gillespie started well before his death in January--a full year earlier, in fact, in a series of jam-session concerts at New York's Blue Note nightclub (captured on two Telarc CDs, Gillespie's last recordings). But not even those gala lineups, filled as they were with talented younger musicians, had the historicity of this event. It includes Max Roach, who played drums on the ground-breaking records with which Gillespie and Parker signaled the arrival of bebop in the mid-40s; James Moody, who played in Gillespie bands over a span of 20 years; and trumpeter Red Rodney, who also knew Gillespie (and who eventually filled his role as frontline partner in Parker's quintets). Add in such contemporaneous giants as vocalist Joe Williams, trumpeter Clark Terry, and pianist Dorothy Donegan, and you have the best kind of tribute--offered by peers and friends--as well as the makings of one extraordinary concert. This annual benefit for the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University has been remade as the first Chicago memorial to Gillespie's brilliance, but it certainly won't be the last. Bird lives; Birks works. Monday, 7 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666.

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