“The music of Dizzy Gillespie spoke the language of freedom: the freedom to think; to innovate; and to speak in one’s own voice,” said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in video-recorded remarks to open the 50th anniversary commemoration of Dizzy Gillespie’s State Department-sponsored world tour at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Hall (watch video of Sec. Rice’s remarks here).
Special guests stars joined USC’s Thornton Jazz Band for a performance of Dizzy Gillespie classics as they were heard on the 1956 tour. On trumpet, Jon Faddis, who performed with Dizzy Gillespie since he was a teenager. His sound at USC was still powerful, lyrical, unpredictable and bright. Gillespie himself once said of his protege: “he’s the best ever, including me!”
Saxophonist James Moody performed in Dizzy Gillespie’s bands on and off since the 1940’s. His role in the 1956 world tour was indirect but significant, as Quincy Jones noted later in the night, when Jones called Moody up to thank him onstage.
“I’ve wanted to say this for 50 years. If it wasn’t for this man – I wouldn’t be up here today,” Jones in thanking James Moody with an emotional embrace. “That man is the bomb!” Jones said of Moody, who recommended the young arranger and musician to be the 1956 band’s music director (which entailed, among other things, arranging and rehearsing a the national anthems of dozens of countries).
The dialogue quickly shifted from prose and praise to jazz as the USC Thornton Jazz Band struck up the opening bass line of “A Night in Tunisia.” The capacity audience at Bovard Hall was treated to an hour-long sampling of the music performed on the 1956 world tour, including compositions by Quincy Jones and Benny Golson, all featuring virtuosic solos from Moody and the visually inspired Faddis, evoking Dizzy in both sound and physical appearance, save for the signature bent-skyward trumpet used by Gillespie in the 50s and 60s.
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was already internationally famous 1956, primarily due to his exposure on Voice of America. In 1955, VOA launched it’s “Jazz Hour,” hosted by Willis Conover, which quickly grew into the stations most popular program, enjoyed by tens of millions of listeners in eighty countries, six nights a week.
As Quincy Jones explained, it didn’t take long for the band to realize the impact of their music.
The president is actually cracking jokes — and the WH corps is in stitches — over rhetorical questions declaring no less than war on practically all non-Texans. (video / text).
“The history of that region has yet to be written…” But apparently Bush has a thorough draft in the works, deferring all blame to his generals — and the lapdog press corps has not even mentioned the name of the great Don.
“If we pull out of Iraq the terrorists will follow us here…” This disgustingly bent statement can be seen as a direct insult to our troops and those Iraqis that truly believe this war is working towards any future that could be documented in the present progressive tense. These radical, extremist, ideological, instigating freedom-thwarting terrorists can laugh about our fears of attack-at-home as long as our troops and stated mission lay at their doormat.
On pardons: “We don’t have the criterion in front of us.” Is the decider saying that he doesn’t even know how or why the decision to pardon is made?
Bush’s prepared statement could not have been more disconcerting and insincere. While repeatedly blaming the war-enabling theoretical terrorist states within states within this Middle East of unwritten history, the president continues to insist — unprovoked — that the U.S. had nothing to do with Israel’s initial decision/strategy in engaging with Hezbollah for 33 days. In fact, it appears that the president is not even aware of the fact that Olmert and his dually unqualified defense minister Amir Peretz are in power primarily as a result of the Ariel Sharon’s incapacitating stroke over six months ago. But for some reason, Bush is moved to feel responsible for significantly funding the rebuilding of Lebanon.
“I’m staying out of Connecticut…. because there’s a better place and way to spend our resources.” What a way to give back to your birth-state. God forbid the children there should get an honest education — including facts and History. “Your mother brought you up well,” was heard from the plum-faced gaggle amid chuckles over Bush’s admission that he doesn’t want to shut up about never winning his own birth state…
These thoughts and interpretations of Bush’s speech (in progress) are meant to be questions rather than judgments. The quotes are closely paraphrased and believe it or not, left in the ridiculous context in which they were delivered. I am utterly dismayed and disgusted at the loose, giggly White house press corps’ (left to meet entirely under the president’s thumb in a makeshift trailer across from the White House) blind, swastikular salute to blatantly racist and highly disconcerting empty, incorrect and unsure statements made with a highly destructive determinism. The gaggle closes with the press corps literally revealing their utter serfdom at the end, asking, “will we ever be allowed back in the White House, sir?” Then, more giggles. I can’t imagine the level of hilarity when the press is begging for water as they ask if it really is necessary to exterminate all non-Texans, without, of course a follow-up question. The president is so sure that it would be foolish to leave Iraq before the mission is accomplished. But nobody bothered to ask exactly what that mission is. Maliki has had six months to pretend to lead some semblance of an organized government. How much more of a “chance” should he be allowed?
There will be highly satisfying musical interludes posted later for our health. Thoughts?