Disenchanted with the traditional big bands, Gillespie experimented with new sounds. He eventually recorded “Hot Mallets” with vibrophonist Lionel Hampton’s band in 1940 – a good example of “bebop” music. In that same year he met Charlie Parker and they became collaborators in developing the bebop sound until the 1950s.
Dizzy’s trumpet was accidently damaged in 1953 – with the bell bent upwards at an angle. Ironically, he found the new angle better for picking the notes. Thus the bent trumpet became Gillespie’s trademark.
Highly respected, not just among jazz musicians, he received a special Presidential assignment in 1956 to make goodwill tours of South America and Africa as a “jazz ambassador”. And, for the next 35 years, Dizzy led many goodwill bands around the world, playing the jazz trumpet. He was also confirmed in his reputation as one of jazz’s finest composers. “Salt Peanuts”, “Hot House”, and “A Night in Tunisia” are all Dizzy originals.
4 MILES DAVIS (1926-1991)
Miles Davis, jazz superstar, was a master of the jazz trumpet. Extremely versatile and imaginative, he was probably the greatest bandleader in jazz. Miles was responsible for the greatest jazz record ever: “Kind of Blue”.
Miles was born in 1926 into a comfortable home, unlike many of his jazz peers’ lives of poverty.In the early 1950s, addiction to heroin caused Miles’ career to stall for long periods. But, back in 1956, he formed small bands that included the likes of John Coltrane and Charles Mingus.
During the 1980s, Miles regularly participated in jazz festivals at Montreux, Switzerland. In 1981, after a lay-off, he made some important recordings. He then continued to tour and record only when he felt like it – for he was assured of his legendary status.
5 FREDDY HUBBARD (born 1938)
Born in 1938 in Indianapolis, Freddie learned the trumpet in high school. He was also part of a local group, the Jazz Contemporaries.
In 1958 he moved to New York. There he played with such greats as Eric Dolphy, Sonny Rollins, Slide Hampton and JJ Johnson.
Freddie then found fame by joining Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1961. The ensuing years saw him recording with John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Herbie Hancock and Max Roach. He also toured Europe with Quincy Jones.
In the 1980s his recordings showed his former glory, which soon again faded, dragged down by “personal problems”. Finally in 1993 he damaged his lip and did not recover his playing skills on the jazz trumpet.