Sample Literature Review Paper on The impact of Dizzy Gillespie, on the development of modern jazz

Dizzy Gillespie was a Jazz trumpeter, composer, occasional singer and a bandleader. Gillespie
has been acknowledged as one of the most influential and talented jazz trumpeters and
composers that ever lived, if not the best (Ake 37). He was an improviser and trumpet prodigy
who builds on the Roy Eldridge virtuoso style, in tandem with adding several layers of vocal
complexity that were previously less known or unknown in jazz. His scat singing, his horn-
rimmed spectacles, his bent horn, and his light-hearted personality were extremely essential in
popularizing the modern jazz. This essay analyzes the impact of Dizzy Gillespie on the
development of modern Jazz.
The contribution of Dizzy Gillespie to the development of modern jazz was
groundbreaking such that many sources and critics, both during his time and today, nicknamed
him the father of modern jazz. His contribution can be traced back to early 1940s and late 1950s.
Notably, in the mid 1940s and early 1950s Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie became influential
figures in the growth and development of modern jazz and bebop (Rutkoff and Scott 91). Led by
Dizzy Gillespie, in tandem with Charlie Parker, jazz transformed itself from complete
entertainment music to a modernist art form, becoming in effect modern jazz. The two founded
the style of jazz that became largely known as bebop. Parker and Gillespie composed pieces that
were complicated and highly syncopated. Their sophisticated style and most of the styles
deriving from it were largely classified by many critics as modern jazz.

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Before, their attempt to develop bebop, which would later become modern jazz, big band
players in the United States were stifled by the lack of creativity in their regularly careers,
though they were well paid. Nevertheless, Gillespie and parker’s new direction facilitated the
emergence of several features and characteristics notable in the modern jazz. During their
concerts, they started tackling the underlying harmonies of tunes and substituting new chords
with richer, less predictable combinations of notes.
For instance, the widely acclaimed ballad “I Can’t Get Started”, that was made popular
by Bunny Berigan, a swing era trumpeter, received a more sophisticated transition into its central
theme, largely worked out by Gillespie, which made it sound immediately more modern and
fresh (Ake 37). In addition to treating other famous tunes in a similar way, Gillespie and other
notable trumpeters began to introduce new harmonies that were largely improvised. Their new
style became largely known as bebop. A bebop band then followed.
Under the leadership of Dizzy Gillespie, the Bebop bands played music that was not only
busy but also agitated. They packed more ideas into each performance than swing styles players
ever did. Their performance started to revolutionize form slow tempos to extremely fast tempos.
During this time, Dazzling virtuosity began to characterize bebop performances in general, and
not just those of Gillespie and Parker. As a matter of fact, most Bebop soloists became well
known for improvisation highly loaded with surprises of rhythm and abrupt changes in the
direction of jazz melodies.
Following Gillespie and Parker’s contribution to the rise of bebop, many individuals
started to refer to bebop as the first true modern jazz style (Rutkoff and Scott 91). Several
compositions by Gillespie including “Salt Peanuts”, “Woody ‘n’ You”, and “Groovin’ High”
sounded radically different, rhythmically and harmonically, from the then highly popular swing

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music. Besides the widely acclaimed 1992 music, “A Night in Tunisia”, by Gillespie had paved
way for the emergence of modern Jazz as it has been noted as having several futures that are very
common in the contemporary music.
In addition to playing his newfound style of music, Gillespie started to teach several
young musicians including Max Roach and Miles Davis about this new style of Jazz. Tandem to
this, he even went ahead to teach and influence several musicians including several notable
musicians such as Fats Navarro, Jon Faddis, Arturo Sandoval, Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan,
Chuck Mangione, and balladeer Johnny Hartman. Nevertheless, following a lengthy gig, later on
in 1945, most audience became hostile or ambivalent towards this new music forcing Gillespie
band to break up. However, unlike parker who decided to play in small groups, Gillespie was
mainly focusing in leading a big band to which he became unsuccessful in the beginning.
Perhaps, Gillespie started making more impact to the development of new Jazz in 1946
following his attempt to put together a big band. Gillespie, together with his band, focused
mainly on popularizing bebop, in tandem with making Gillespie a symbol of this new music.
Besides focusing on his band, Gillespie also appeared severally as soloist in different concerts
particularly in New York.
Nevertheless, following the demise of his big band, many accounts of Gillespie career in
1950 and 1951 suggest that he spend much of this time as a soloist, without permanent band of
his own. Nevertheless, the streams of bookings at Birdland and the occasional week out of town
or at the Apollo indicate that Gillespie kept his small group working consistently until early in
1952. It was also notable that his group would only focus on this new music style.
The impact of Gillespie’s contribution began to critical acclaim even outside the United
States especially in France. For instance, the impact of his 1948 big band had not been forgotten

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by French public who had come to like his new direction of jazz so much. Finding himself
lionized by the French concert and club going public, Gillespie embarked on a creative spell of
recording activity, both with several rising stars in French and his fellow Americans. Gillespie
had bebop, but he also had strong roots, and his new direction had begun to smoothen into a
fusion of his complete jazz knowledge to form the new classism. His aspect of improvisation and
introduction of new sounds in a time when the jazz music was characterized by lack of creativity
has truly shown that his contribution to the modern jazz is groundbreaking.
In conclusion, much has been written and even more can be discussed in regards to the
work of the jazz trumpeter schooled in modern jazz or bebop, Gillespie had and has so many
disciples, both direct and indirect and was pivotal in the evolution of jazz in general. Today,
bebop style is by far the most widely used among jazz trumpeters everywhere nearly three
decades after its inception. Indeed, Gillespie will continue to be remembered as one of the most
talented Jazz trumpeters and composers of all time.

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Works Cited

Ake, David. Jazz Cultures. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. Print.
Rutkoff, Peter and William Scott. Bebop: Modern New York Jazz. The Kenyon Review,