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PLAYBOY'S FEBRUARY ISSUE PAYS TRIBUTE TO JAZZ ORIGINAL DIZZY GILLESPIE

 CHICAGO, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The musical legacy of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, who along with Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk gave birth to the modern jazz era, is explored in an article that appears in the February issue of Playboy magazine (on sale Tuesday, Jan. 19).
 "John Birks Dizzy' Gillespie has said he was playing what came to be called bebop as early as 1936," David Standish writes in "Bop Till You Drop," part five in Playboy's History of Jazz & Rock, a continuing series. "This is a little like Jelly Roll Morton claiming he personally invented jazz -- but as with Morton's boast, there is some truth to Gillespie's claim.
 "Gillespie started as an acolyte of trumpeter Roy Eldridge but kept having new ideas about chords and key changes," Standish continues. "Cab Calloway used him as a featured instrumentalist in his big band, but Calloway didn't appreciate some of the modern flights in his solos. He recalls: I'd say, "Man, listen, will you please don't be playing all that Chinese music up there!" ' "
 Gillespie credited himself with introducing Afro-American and Latin rhythms into jazz, according to Playboy. The bop classic "A Night in Tunisia," written in 1942 but not recorded until 1944 because of a World War Two-era recording ban, stands as evidence to support this claim.
 "Dizzy saw a historical dimension to his interest in polyrhythms," Standish writes. "These rhythms took the music back to Africa via the black Caribbean. Dizzy used to joke that he was descended from the ex- slaves who lived on the islands off South Carolina, whose homogeneity and isolation helped preserve their African culture and musical heritage."
 The February issue of Playboy also includes "Bebop on CD," a compendium of records reissued on compact disc that shows how bebop "crashed into the swing era like an incendiary bomb." Gillespie's contributions to the list include School Days (Savoy) and For Musicians Only (Verve), which paired Gillespie with tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and altoist Sonny Stitt in a 1956 bop reunion.
 In 1957, Gillespie placed third among trumpeters in the first-ever Playboy Jazz Poll, with fewer than 1,000 votes separating him from winner Louis Armstrong (more than 60,000 votes were cast). Gillespie continued to rank high in the annual readers' poll for 28 years. (In 1986, Playboy's music poll began honoring only one winner in each category.)
 Because he was among Playboy founder Hugh M. Hefner's favorite performers, Gillespie was regularly invited to perform at the popular Playboy Jazz Festival at Hollywood Bowl. He made five appearances at the festival, starting with its West Coast debut in 1979; he last performed at the fest in 1991 with his band, the United Nations Orchestra.
 "The death of Dizzy Gillespie is a loss for all jazz lovers," Hefner said upon learning the 75-year-old master succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Jan. 6. "The man may be gone, but the music he created lives on."
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 /CONTACT: Bill Paige of Playboy magazine, 312-751-8000, ext. 2465/


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Date:Jan 8, 1993
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