Jazz Record Center

Dizzy Gillespie To Be, or not...To Bop


552 pages
University of Minnesota Press

Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993) was an American jazz trumpet virtuoso as well as a bandleader, singer, and composer. He rose from a poor but musically driven upbringing to become a jazz mastermind, founding the bebop movement and giving rise to Afro-Cuban music. To Be, or Not...to Bop is a unique account that serves as both a rollicking history lesson in American music and culture and a towering play-by-play of a life not to be forgotten. Al Fraser was a longtime friend of Dizzy and a former professor of African American studies. This extensive biography is intertwined with reflections from famous Gillespie associates, including Count Basie, Art Blakey, Cab Calloway, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, Max Roach, Sarah Vaughan, Mary Lou Williams, and many others.

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