Dizzy Gillespie’s Centennial Celebration with Jon Faddis and the Chicago Jazz Festival Big Band
One hundred years ago this October 21st, John Birks Gillespie was born in the South Carolina town of Cheraw. The rest is not only history, it is also is the ascension to heavenly heights by one of the most indomitable spirits America has ever known. In many ways, we’re still trying to catch up with the genius called Dizzy and the invention of his known as bebop, which is no less revolutionary now than it was when he and Charlie Parker served it up in the 1940’s.
As long as we’re marking milestones, we should also note that this year is the 70th anniversary of Gillespie’s landmark big band of 1947, which blended blistering power and cerebral brilliance in a manner that has rarely if ever been matched. Today, with Dizzy protégé Jon Faddis leading the charge on trumpet, the Chicago Jazz Festival Big Band will celebrate the awesome achievement of that historic ensemble, with the help of Dizzy confreres from different periods in his career, drummer Ignacio Berroa and saxophonist Antonio Hart.
A fantastic, high-flying soloist in the Gillespie mold, Faddis has directed numerous Dizzy tribute bands. In addition to Indiana-born bassist of note Todd Coolman and local piano hero Willie Pickens, tonight’s aggregation will feature a collection of musicians most of whom Faddis is familiar with from his stint as director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble from 2004-2010. They will include saxophonists Pat Mallinger, Jarrard Harris, Steve Eisen and Steve Schnall; trumpeters Chuck Parrish, Tito Carrillo, Victor Garcia and Pharez Whitted; trombonist Audrey Morrison, Tom Matta, Andy Baker and Tim Coffman.