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Dizzy : The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie

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MartyJazz:"Whoa! Gay activity??!!!! Please, does it get any worse than what's already been related on this thread? What's next, pedophilia, cruelty to animals, etc.? I don't think I can take much more."

I'm afraid that speaks worse for you than it does for Dizzy, MartyJazz.

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Maybe it was parody.

I kinda hope so, but I didn't notice any smilies indicating sarcasm. Maybe he forgot to put them there. Or not. <_<:(

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MartyJazz:"Whoa! Gay activity??!!!! Please, does it get any worse than what's already been related on this thread? What's next, pedophilia, cruelty to animals, etc.? I don't think I can take much more."

I'm afraid that speaks worse for you than it does for Dizzy, MartyJazz.

Oh great, now I'm being lectured. Am I supposed to rejoice at the news that Diz, Miles, Gary Burton, etc., have engaged in gay activity? Tolerance I have in spades without getting into a "some of my best friends are..." type of argument. But I always find that kind of unexpected news disappointing. I can't be hip enough to say, "hey, that's cool".

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MartyJazz:"Whoa! Gay activity??!!!! Please, does it get any worse than what's already been related on this thread? What's next, pedophilia, cruelty to animals, etc.? I don't think I can take much more."

I'm afraid that speaks worse for you than it does for Dizzy, MartyJazz.

Oh great, now I'm being lectured. Am I supposed to rejoice at the news that Diz, Miles, Gary Burton, etc., have engaged in gay activity? Tolerance I have in spades without getting into a "some of my best friends are..." type of argument. But I always find that kind of unexpected news disappointing. I can't be hip enough to say, "hey, that's cool".

I am sorry to see that your remarks were not meant as "parody." No one suggests that you rejoice, but your reaction indicates shock and your outrageous analogies veritably drip with bias against gay people. Pedophilea and cruelty to animals have nothing to do with being gay, so your bringing them up in this context is both insulting and ignorant.

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Pedophilea and cruelty to animals have nothing to do with being gay, so your bringing them up in this context is both insulting and ignorant.

You're absolutely correct in this regard and I certainly didn't mean to equate any or all of these activities. I had just lumped all non-straight sexual and/or physically abusive activity by jazz artists I've listened to for many years into stuff that I was not thrilled to hear or read about. To the extent that I insulted you or any other reader here, I sincerely apologize.

Edited by MartyJazz

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MartyJazz, if there is one thing these board exchanges do readily, it's opening us up for misinterpretation. I now consider this to have been one such case, and I hope others will agree, but thank you for apologizing.

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Birks was a hetrosexual all the way, for sure!

The point of my post was that any abusive behavior, to women or others, was the exception and not the rule and he should be remembered for his massive contribution to the music.

When you're talking about a genius, there are many layers to their personallity. To take single incidents and tar a long and productive life is plain wrong. He known far and wide as a giver of himself and his knowledge; not a taker and abuser.

I suspect that his personality was not condusive to drinking or hard drug taking. That the same appitite he had for learning and living caused him to over indulge, at times, and he lost control of himself. When I knew him he did not drink or take hard drugs in any way and had a profound, deep belief in his Bahi faith. He evolved; just like Jazz.

Yeah he carried a knife. If you had to carry money from town to town , like he did, you might carry one too! I, of course, never saw him, cut or threaten anyone. And let me tell you; I saw some people come up to him with crazed looks in their eyes, talking bizzare, looking drunk and drugged, talking angry and loud, paranoid and disturbed. I would have run and hid! He almost always was kind and cool with them. Like Rodney Jones said" a lot of old guys carried knives". Don't forget that Dizzy grew up in the South; a tough country boy who had to take abuse there and in the North that we can only imagine.

I'm not making excuses for him. He could be rough and tough but that was just a small part of his personality.

Ahh, shit... This IS getting more than a little strange. I try to give a little insight from my point of view and he is called Gay?!

He was, and will forever be, a GREAT MAN.

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Wait - Dizzy was gay? What did I miss here?

Well, as long as he stayed away from goats...

Edited by AllenLowe

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I have to wholeheartedly agree with Chris' post from early this morning (6:44). This conduct is shocking and disturbing but it doesn't make me love his music any less.

Carrying a knife doesn't seem to be that unusual. In Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker by Robert Reisner, he relates a story about Don Byas and Charlie Parker in which Byas says that Bird is not showing him anything on his horn whereupon Bird invites him outside and pulls a knife and then Byas pulls out a bigger knife which from what I remember ended the whole thing with Bird saying something like he thought that Don Byas would have really cut him.

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Marcello:"Birks was a hetrosexual all the way, for sure!"

  • Marcello, I gather that you were not his type :rolleyes:--at least you did not know him as well as you might think you did. The fact is that Dizzy was bisexual, regardless of what you wish to believe. Like I said, nothing wrong with that, although your insistence indicates that you think otherwise.

    Sorry, I seem to have burst your bubble--it was not my intention. The truth is that homosexuality/lesbianism is more prevalent in the jazz community that most people think and, sadly, this is still regarded by some as a negative.

    And let me correct you on one thing--Rodney Jones was cut by Dizzy, but he is not the one who told me that--other musicians did.

But we were talking about a book, weren't we?

Edited by Christiern

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Brad:"...ended the whole thing with Bird saying something like he thought that Don Byas would have really cut him."

Hence "Carving the Bird"??? :g

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I guess you could say Diz & Byas were a couple of real "cut-ups". So, how's the book? :huh:

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Okay, Okay..... But more than once I sept in the same hotel room/suite with him and no touchy feely! Never saw a pass at a man or boy although I saw him nibble on more that one woman's ear lobe!

Back to the book.... I thought that those bands with Al Gafa/Rodney Jones/Mickey Roker were not given much exposure.

I have always loved "Portrait Of Jenny"

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Sidebar: the downbeat that just hit the stands has all "classic" articles and interviews, including a piece by Valerie Wilmer on Monk.

What really blew me away was the article written by Charlie Christian. It was as well written as anything I've ever seen in the pages of db! He was fiesty, too - standing up for jazz guitarists everywhere! :tup B-)

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I think believing a lot that is in Robert Reisner's book on Bird is not necessarily prudent. . .

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Sidebar: the downbeat that just hit the stands has all "classic" articles and interviews, including a piece by Valerie Wilmer on Monk.

What really blew me away was the article written by Charlie Christian. It was as well written as anything I've ever seen in the pages of db! He was fiesty, too - standing up for jazz guitarists everywhere! :tup B-)

Could you elaborate? What do you mean by "all the classic articles"? Sounds like something I should be getting, though.

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I don't think he means all the classic articles, just that all the contained articles are classic. I think even down beat would need a book to contain all that has been worth reading since the 1930s :g

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I don't think he means all the classic articles, just that all the contained articles are classic. I think even down beat would need a book to contain all that has been worth reading since the 1930s :g

Ah, I read too much into Joe's comment. :D

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going around and cutting people with a knife, sexually abusing others, etc. is abhorrent and inexcusable behavior that ought neither to be tolerated nor kept secret. Artistic talent is not a free pass to depraved conduct.

I arrived late in this discussion ... when did we switch to discussing Miles Davis?

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Marcello:"Okay, Okay..... But more than once I sept in the same hotel room/suite with him and no touchy feely! Never saw a pass at a man or boy although I saw him nibble on more that one woman's ear lobe!"

  • Don't mean to belabor this, but, hey, at no time when I was alone with Dizzy did he even flash his knife....so? Gay people, like heterosexuals, do not feel compelled, nor do they have the urge, to become intimate with any and all as soon as an opportunity to do so arises. What you seem to regard as proof of sexual orientation is, perhaps more accurately, evidence of naïveté.

    I'll make it a point to acquire and read "The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie" so that I can discuss it. After all, this thread took a turn to the man's darker side because I wondered how honest a biography it is.

Edited by Christiern

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Some of my best friends are lesbians - but I wouldn't want my sister to marry one - (didn't Dick Cheney's OTHER daughter say that?)

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I think believing a lot that is in Robert Reisner's book on Bird is not necessarily prudent. . .

I'm not sure why you would say that since much of the book is recollections. Although it is possible that many of them are apocryphal. Anyway, this particular story was, according to Reisner, related to him by Don Byas.

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Has anyone already read it?

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There's an excerpt in this month's Jazz Times. If you're a well-studied type, there's nothing new and/or better written than waht's already been done. Might be a good read for a newer fan, though. Still, the Shipton and the autobio are the two things I'd recommend to anybody who asked. Neither are perfect, they're just the best so far.

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