Dizzy Gillespie was one of the most influential and well-known jazz musicians of all-time. John Birks Gillespie, who passed away 25 years ago this month, he pioneered a number of jazz subgenres and became internationally famous for his legendary ability on the trumpet, his trademark “balloon cheeks,” and his playful stage presence.
For someone who’s received as many James Brown comparisons as Bruno Mars has, it makes sense that he’d be very aware of the impact that black artists have had on the American music scene, but in a recent interview with Latina, the “Uptown Funk” star took it a step further, breaking down why American music is black music.
In the jargon of jazz, a “blue note” is one that deviates from the expected–an improvisational twist, a tickle in the ear. It is fitting that Blue Note Records, founded in New York by German expat Alfred Lion back in 1939, took its name from this artifact of genre, for throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the institution was continually surprising (and delighting) its audience.
From boogie-woogie and bebop to solo stylings and the avant-garde, Lion’s label left no tone unturned. The undisputed quality of Blue Note’s output was the direct result of its creator’s willingness to meet the artists on their level, to embrace the quirks and curveballs that make jazz music what it is. As an early Blue Note brochure put it:
The jazz world lost one of its most visionary artists Thursday when Ornette Coleman died in New York City, the New York Times reports. Coleman was 85. According to the Times, the cause was cardiac arrest.
In the early 2000s, artist LeRoy Neiman—best known for vibrant illustrations that bring American pastimes to life—started to paint the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.