John Birk "Dizzy" Gillespie's trumpet

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Ed Lee, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    The question was posed in another thread as to the "real" story of how his trumpet first became bent. In that thread I stated I had heard it first occurred as an accident. Well, I now find that such is corroborated by what we read on his "official" website:

    "And just how did Gillespie end up with that bizarre, trademark trumpet of his? The bent-bell trumpet got its start in 1953 when someone fell on his trumpet stand backstage; Gillespie liked the sound of the altered instrument so much that his trumpets were specially made from then on."

     
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Here is another account I came across:

    Dizzy Gillespie's original bent-bell trumpet sold for $63,000 on the auction block recently in New York and the proceeds will benefit the hospital that provided care for him before his death almost three years ago.

    The trumpet, whose bell was bent 45 degrees when a dancer tripped while performing at a birthday party for Gillespie's wife in the early 1950s, sold for $63,000 at Christie's auction house. Part of the proceeds were being donated to Englewood (NJ) Hospital and Medical Center where Gillespie was a patient before he died of pancreatic cancer on Jan. 6, 1993 (JET, Jan. 25, 1993).

    Gillespie used horns with bent bells ever since the dancing accident. "I can hear my mistakes quicker," he once said. The instrument also has two small dents made by a snake charmer's king cobra, which lunged at Gillespie during a trip to India.

    RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE OWNER OF THIS ORIGINAL: DO NOT SEND IT TO TOM GREEN TO HAVE IT REFURBISHED. KING COBRA DENT'S THAT IS JUST TOO COOL!
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Just to show you how valued Dizzy's trumpet really was, it went for $63,000 at the auction. Other axes sold at this time were: Coleman Hawkins' tenor saxophone, $19,000; Dexter Gordon's soprano sax $10,925, and Jimi Hendrix's leather guitar strap went for $11,500. OK it was ONLY Jimi's strap, but I still say the trumpet player wins. WE ARE VALUED!
     
  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Here is the complete story:

    Gillespie, who died in 1993 at age 75, threw a party for his wife, Lorraine, at Snookie's in Manhattan on Jan. 6, 1953. Leaving his horn on a trumpet stand, he left to do a quick radio interview. The dance duo Stump and Stumpy started fooling around on the bandstand; Stump pushed Stumpy, who fell onto Dizzy's horn, bending the bell skyward.

    It was such an unsettling sight that saxophonist Illinois Jacquet left the club before Gillespie returned; he didn't want to be around when the jazzman saw his misshapen horn and blew his top. But Gillespie kept his cool.

    "It was my wife's birthday and I didn't wanna be a drag," he wrote in his autobiography, "To Be or Not to Bop." "I put the horn to my mouth and started playing. I played it and I liked the sound . . . it could be played softly, very softly, not blarey."

    He had the horn straightened out the next day but couldn't get that sound out of his mind. "I remembered the way the sound had come from it, quicker to the ear, my ear," Gillespie recalled. The 45- degree angle brought the bell closer and let him hear the sound sooner.

    He had his wife draw the bent trumpet, sent the picture to the Martin Co. and asked it to make him one. Company officials called the idea crazy, but "they made the trumpet and I've been playing one like that ever since. With my instrument, when you hit a note, Bam! You hear it right then. It's only a split second, but a split second means a lot."

    Gillespie couldn't patent his bent-bell trumpet because a Frenchman named Dupont invented a horn with a slightly raised bell in the 1860s.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Well now it seems the whole REAL story has surfaced. Too, perhaps the dance duo should be entitled to part of the $63,000 proceeds for the "creation". Too, had I been the patent examiner, I may have denied his patent application on this alone. Otherwise whoever bought it may now have the provenance documentation to justify to IRS the expense of providing armed security were it in movement place to place. Still, absent forensic confirmation of the King Cobra bite marks, I'm a skeptic although I admit such story is "cool".
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  6. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    A minor correction.
    Dizzy's middle name was Birks.
    Rich T.
     
  7. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    Sorry for the typo, I stand corrected - Ed Lee
     
  8. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

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    I thought that his trumpet is in the Smithsonian?? Who ever owns it should cherish it forever, and donate it to a good high school trumpet player in Ocala, Florida
     
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

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    :think::think::think:Hmm, do YOU know any??? ;-)
     
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    I really don't know if it is now in the Smithsonian, but such would not be unusual as many valuable artifacts have been purchased by benefactors and then donated to the Smithsonian, thus they can take an income tax deduction of what they paid for the item. Such is common to change tax brackets and pay a lesser amount in tax.
     

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