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Charismic Productions Records of Dizzy Gillespie

Gillespie, Dizzy, 1917-1993  Search this
Fishman, Charles  Search this
20 Cubic feet ( 31 boxes, 2 map folders)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Business records
Financial records
Audiovisual materials
bulk 1987-1993
Collection documents the career of noted American jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, through a donation from his former manager, Charles Fishman.
Scope and Contents:
The collection primarily documents Charles Fishman's tenure as Gillespie's manager, 1985-1993, and is composed of business records. There is also a significant amount of personal material and photographs from the 1940s-1980s, much of which was saved by Mr. Fishman when Dizzy Gillespie wanted to throw these materials away or take them home.
The collection is divided into eleven series.

Series 1, Personal Materials, 1988-1993, undated

Series 2, Correspondence, 1987-2002

Series 3, Business Files, 1979-2001, undated

Series 4, Contracts, 1987-1993

Series 5, Performance Programs, 1984-1997

Series 6, Awards and Honors, 1989-1991

Series 7, Music Manuscripts, undated

Series 8, Photographs, 1941-1993, undated

Subseries 8.1, Dizzy Gillespie, 1941-1993, undated

Subseries 8.2, Albums, 1988-1993

Subseries 8.3, Other Artists, undated

Subseries 8.4, Negatives, undated

Series 9, Newspaper Clippings and Magazine Articles, 1958-2000, undated

Series 10, Artwork and Posters, 1982-2006, undated

Subseries 10.1, Artwork, 1990-2004, undated

Subseries 10.2, Posters, 1982-2006, undated

Series 11, Audio Visual Materials, 1950-1992, undated

Subseries 11.1, Sound Recordings, 1989-1992, undated

Subseries 11.2, Moving Images, 1946-1992, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Born in South Carolina in 1917, John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was a master jazz trumpeter, bandleader, singer, and composer. In the 1940s, he was one of the principal developers of both bebop and Afro-Cuban jazz. Through the multitudes of musicians with whom he played and who he encouraged; he was one of the most influential players in the history of jazz.

The youngest of nine children, Gillespie was exposed to music by his father, a part-time bandleader who kept all his band's instruments at home, where young Gillespie tried them out. At age twelve, he received a music scholarship to the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina, where he played trumpet in the school band. In 1935, at age eighteen, he moved to Philadelphia and joined his first band, where his clownish onstage behavior and sense of humor earned him his nickname, "Dizzy." Thereafter, he was almost constantly joining and leaving, or forming and disbanding, bands of various size and style, as he set out to first hone his talent, then to develop his own creative innovations and to publish his recordings, and then to fulfill his lifelong desire to lead his own band. Along the way, he played with, collaborated with, encouraged, and influenced, all the major – and most of the minor – jazz musicians of his age, including Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter, Billy Eckstine, Cab Calloway, and John Coltrane.

In 1937, Gillespie moved to New York, where he joined Teddy Hill's band; with Hill he made his first overseas tour, to England and France. By 1939, he had joined Cab Calloway's band and had received his first exposure to Afro-Cuban music. In 1940, Gillespie met Charlie "Bird" Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Kenny Clarke and together they began developing a distinctive, more complex style of jazz that became known as bebop or bop. In the early 1940s, Gillespie made several recordings of this new sound. In 1945, he formed and led his own big band, which was quickly downsized into a quintet due to financial problems. He was able to reform the band the next year and keep it together for four years, but it was disbanded in 1950. During this time, he began to incorporate Latin and Cuban rhythms into his work. In 1953, a dancer accidentally fell on his trumpet and bent the bell. Gillespie decided he liked the altered tone and thereafter had his trumpets specially made that way.

In 1956, after leading several small groups, the United States State Department asked Gillespie to assemble a large band for an extensive cultural tour to Syria, Pakistan, Turkey, Greece, and Yugoslavia; a second tour, to South America, took place several months later. Although he kept the band together for two more years, the lack of government funding prevented him from keeping such a large group going and he returned to leading small ensembles. In 1964, displaying the humor for which he was well-known, Gillespie put himself forward as a candidate for President.

Gillespie continued to tour, perform, record, and to collaborate with a wide range of other musicians throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He continued to encourage new styles and new talents, such as Arturo Sandoval, whom he discovered during a 1977 visit to Cuba. In 1979, Gillespie published his autobiography, To Be or Not to Bop. In the late 1980s, he organized and led the United Nations Orchestra, a 15-piece ensemble that showcased the fusion of Latin and Caribbean influences with jazz. In these later years, although still performing, he began to slow down and enjoy the rewards of his extraordinary talent. He received several honorary degrees, was crowned a chief in Nigeria, was awarded the French Commandre d'Ordre des Artes et Lettres, won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and received both the Kennedy Center Medal of Arts and the ASCAP Duke Ellington Award for Fifty Years of Achievement as a composer, performer, and bandleader. Dizzy Gillespie passed away on January 6, 1993.
Related Materials:
Materials held in the Archives Center

John and Devra Hall Levy Collection NMAH.AC1221

Paquito Rivera NMAH.AC0891

James Moody Papers NMAH.AC1405

Chico O'Farrill Papers NMAH.AC0892

Boyd Raeburn Papers NMAH.AC1431

William Claxton Photographs NMAH.AC0695

Ray Brown Papers NMAH.AC1362

Earl Newman Collection of Monterey Jazz Festival Posters NMAH.AC1207

Graciela Papers NMAH.AC1425

Leonard Gaskin Papers NMAH.AC0900

Ella Fitzgerald NMAH.AC0584

Herman Leonard Photoprints NMAH.AC0445

Stephanie Myers Jazz Photographs NMAH.AC0887

John Gensel Collection of Duke Ellington Materials NMAH.AC0763

Duke Ellington Collection NMAH.AC0301

Benny Carter Collection NMAH.AC0757

Chuck Mangione NMAH.AC1151

Bill Holman Collection NMAH.AC0733

Duncan Schiedt Photograph Collection NMAH.AC1323

Fletcher and Horace Henderson Music and Photographs NMAH.AC0797

Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection NMAH.AC0491

W. Royal Stokes Collection of Music Publicity Photoprints, Interviews, and Posters NMAH.AC0766

William Russo Music and Personal Papers NMAH.AC0845

Pat and Chuck Bress Jazz Portrait Photographs NMAH.AC1219

Milt Gabler Papers NMAH.AC0849

Floyd Levin Reference Collection NMAH.AC.1222

Materials held in the Division of Culture and the Arts

Includes Dizzy Gillespie's iconic "bent" trumpet (1986.0003.01); sound recordings, a button, and a sculpture.

Materials held in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

National Museum of American History. Office of Public Affairs Accession 95-150

Smithsonian Press/Smithsonian Productions Accession 04-091

Smithsonian Associates. Resident Associate Program Accession 03-086

Smithsonian Resident Associate Program Accession 98-031

Smithsonian Productions Accession 06-181

Smithsonian Resident Associate Program. Office of Public Affairs Record Unit 632

National Museum of American History. Department of Public Programs Accession 17-312

National Museum of American History. Office of Special Events Record Unit 595

Smithsonian Institution. Division of Performing Arts Accession T90055

America's Smithsonian. (Traveling exhibition) Accession 98-142

Smithsonian Institution. Division of Performing Arts Accession 84-012

Smithsonian Institution. Office of Telecommunications Record Unit 296

Smithsonian Institution. Office of Telecommunications Record Unit 590

Materials held in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Gertrude Abercrombie AAA.abergert

Materials at Other Organizations

Dizzy Gillespie Collection, circa 1987-2000, University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
The collection was donated by Charles Fishman, Dizzy Gillespie's manager, in 2007.
The collection is open for research. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Jazz musicians -- United States  Search this
Trumpet players -- 20th century  Search this
Business records -- 20th century
Clippings -- 20th century
Manuscripts -- Music -- 20th century
Financial records -- 20th century
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- 1940-2000
Music -- Manuscripts
Posters -- 20th century
Audiovisual materials
Charismic Productions Records of Dizzy Gillespie, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Charismic Productions Records of Dizzy Gillespie
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Online Media:

Duke Ellington Oral History Project

Smithsonian Institution  Search this
Greenlee, Marcia (oral historian)  Search this
Willard, Patricia  Search this
Duke Ellington Orchestra  Search this
Aasland, Benny  Search this
Babs, Alice  Search this
Bell, Aaron  Search this
Bellson, Louis  Search this
Boatwright, Ruth Ellington, 1915-2004  Search this
Bolling, Claude  Search this
Bridgers, Aaron  Search this
Burrell, Kenny  Search this
Carneiro, Luis  Search this
Celley, Al  Search this
Cohen, Oscar  Search this
Cole, Maria  Search this
Cook, John  Search this
Cooper, Buster  Search this
Courtney, Shirley  Search this
Dance, Helen Oakley, 1913-2001  Search this
Dance, Stanley, 1910-1999  Search this
Davis, Kay  Search this
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974  Search this
Ellington, Mercer Kennedy, 1919-1996 (musician)  Search this
Granz, Norman  Search this
Hamilton, Jimmy  Search this
Jeffries, Herb  Search this
Jones, Herbie  Search this
Jones, Max  Search this
Kerr, Brooks  Search this
Lamb, John  Search this
Lowe, Arnold "Jim"  Search this
McCuen, Brad  Search this
Roche, Betty  Search this
Sanders, John  Search this
Sherrill, Joya  Search this
Szterenfeld, Alejandro  Search this
Terry, Clark  Search this
Udkoff, Evelyn  Search this
Udkoff, Robert, 1918- (businessman)  Search this
Vono, Caio  Search this
Wein, George  Search this
Woode, James  Search this
Woodman, Britt  Search this
15 Cubic feet (22 boxes)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Oral history
1989- 1993
Thirty-nine oral history interviews created by the Archives Center with Duke Ellington's music and business associates. The interviews cover a range of topics including Ellington as a musician, the significance of race in Ellington's work and life, Ellington and the economics of the music business, Ellington as international cultural figure, and Ellington and the historical record.
Scope and Contents:
Interviews with musicians who performed with Ellington, producers and other business associates, Ellington scholars and fans, and family members documenting personal and musical relationships with Duke Ellington.
The collection is arranged in one series.

Series 1, Oral History Tapes, 1989-1993
Biographical / Historical:
The collection was created by the Archives Center to provide research background about the Duke Ellington Orchestra. It complements a growing number of Archives Center collections related to Ellington and American music. The interviewees were asked about their own backgrounds, their personal and musical relationships with Duke, and their assessment of Ellington's strengths and weaknesses and his role in twentieth century American music. The discussions centered on five major themes including Ellington as a musician, the significance of race in Ellington's work and life, Ellington and the economics of the music business, Ellington as international cultural figure, and Ellington and the historical record. Recollections range from approximately the 1940s through the mid 1970s.

The thirty-nine Interviews were conducted by oral historian Marcia Greenlee and former Duke Ellington publicist Patricia Willard with former Ellington music and business associates.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Annual International Conference of the Duke Ellington Study Group Proceedings (AC0385)

Al Celley Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC1240)

Duke Ellington Collection (AC0301)

Edward and Gaye Ellington Collection (AC0704)

Ruth Ellington Collection of Duke Ellington Materials (AC0415)

Carter Harman Collection of Interviews with Duke Ellington (AC0422)

New York Chapter of the Duke Ellington Society Collection (AC0390)

William Russo Transcription and Arrangement of Duke Ellington's First Concert of Sacred Music (AC0406)

Ernie Smith Jazz Film Collection (AC0491)
Collection created by the National Museum of American History, 1989-1993.
Collection is open for research but the master tapes are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at or 202-633-3270.
Copyright and commercial use restrictions. Contact Archives Center staff for information.
Jazz  Search this
Jazz musicians -- Interviews -- 1989-1991 -- United States  Search this
African American musicians  Search this
Oral history -- 1980-2000
Interviews -- 1980-2000
Duke Ellington Oral History Project, 1989-1993, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Duke Ellington Oral History Project
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

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