Miles Davis Is CIA Boss In A Dizzy Gillespie Administration

This is a not a new story, but one I find rather terrific. With the 2012 presidential election just around the corner, it’s fun to look back at Dizzy Gillespie’s historic 1964 challenge to incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson and Republican nominee Barry Goldwater.

Writing a few years back on the Night Lights blog, David Brent Johnson puts together an excellent look back at Dizzy’s short-lived race for the White House.

Pushed into his own style of jazz politics by jazz writer Ralph Gleason and his wife Jean, Johnson writes that Dizzy had plans to rename the White House ‘the Blues House’ and, “proposed a presidential cabinet with Duke Ellington as minister of state, Max Roach as minister of defense, Charles Mingus as minister of peace, Peggy Lee as minister of labor, and Miles Davis as the director of the CIA.”

Miles Davis taking charge of the CIA sounds about right.

Gillespie was in swinging campaign mode at his 1963 Monterey concert, featuring a rewrite of “Salt Peanuts” by Jon Hendricks with lyrics that included the lines, “Your politics oughta be a groovier thing/so get a good president who’s willing to swing/Vote Dizzy! Vote Dizzy!”

That particular concert can be heard on the CD Dizzy for President.

Google Honors Dizzy Gillespie with Doodle

Iconic jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie would have been 93 today, so Google has dedicated Thursday’s doodle to the famed musician.

I’m a devoted fan of Dizzy Gillespie, so this is a terrific, artistic honor by Google.

But where is the Miles Davis doodle? C’mon!

* The Miles Davis Movie: Who Is Going To Play Dizzy Gillespie?

Miles Davis & Dizzy Gillespie In Concert

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(L-R) American musician Mile Davis (1926 – 1991) plays the trumpet at a concert with fellow musicians Dizzy Gillespie (1917 – 1993), Fats Navarro (1923 – 1950), J.J. Johnson (1924 – 2001) and Kai Winding (1922 – 1983), 1949.
Photo: Metronome/Getty Images

The Miles Davis Movie: Who Is Going To Play Dizzy Gillespie?

dizzygillespie In 1944, the Billy Eckstine band visited St. Louis. The group included saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Davis, 18, joined the band as third trumpet for a couple of weeks. Not a bad way to get your start as a jazz musician.

The role of Gillespie is not essential to the film, but it’s necessary – we’re talking a couple scenes (preferably a performance) to show how Gillespie taught Davis, and many of the young musicians on 52nd Street, about the new style of modern jazz (not too mention life as a professional).

I’m a fan of Dizzy’s music, and he just seemed like a person you’d want to spend a day with talking about life, music and whatever else. I think of the Quincy Jones part in “Ray” (played by Larenz Tate); I believe the character was in two or three scenes, but they were an important part of the narrative.

Plus, the right actor can really knock the role out of the park because of Dizzy’s inherent charm, style and showmanship.

Miles Davis / In Pictures

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The Miles Davis Movie: Who is going to play Dizzy Gillespie?

dizzygillespie In 1944, the Billy Eckstine band visited St. Louis. The group included saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Davis, 18, joined the band as third trumpet for a couple of weeks. Not a bad way to get your start as a jazz musician.

The role of Gillespie is not essential to the film, but it’s necessary – we’re talking a couple scenes (preferably one a performance) to show how Gillespie taught Davis, and many of the young musicians on 52nd Street, about the new style of modern jazz (not too mention life as a professional).

I’m a fan of Dizzy’s music, and he just seemed like a person you’d want to spend a day with talking about life, music and whatever else. I think of the Quincy Jones part in “Ray” (played by Larenz Tate); I believe the character was in two or three scenes, but they were an important part of the narrative.

Plus, the right actor can really knock the role out of the park because of Dizzy’s inherent charm, style and showmanship.