Jimmy Heath on playing bebop in the South

Now, a Jazz Moment...

MUSIC: "Things To Come" CD: Dizzy Gillespie & his Orchestra: Live in 1948, Jazz Archives No.186 160052 (cut 9)

The Dizzy Gillespie Big Band was one of the most illustrious in jazz
history. But as NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath recalls, the band wasn't always
well received. Heath recounts a 1949 tour through the south.

Jimmy Heath: When we got to Little Rock, the people seemed to have scouts.
When we started playing, warming up and all that stuff, people came and listened.
And a guy say, "What are y'all playing? All them bebops and stuff. Why don't
you go back and send Buddy Johnson or Count Basie down here." They wanted
dance music, more, you know. So that night (laughs) we could have beat the
audience up in a fight. (Laughs) It was more of us on the stage than them.
If we played in the big cities, we were cool. Bebop was hip. Everybody would
come and hear this new sound. But they were wanting to hear some dance music.
Bebop was a little too intellectualized and too fast.

MUSIC: same - up and fades under

This Jazz Moment with saxophonist Jimmy Heath was produced by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jimmy Heath on playing bebop in the South