THOUGH it's a touch grotesque, the artist Mark Diamond's hologram of Dizzy Gillespie is lifelike enough to halt you in your tracks as you hurry past the jazz club called Fat Tuesday's, on Third Avenue between 17th and 18th, in New York. Gillespie—white-haired even to the tuft under his lip and looking close to his present age of seventy-four—smiles and lifts his trumpet to his lips (it's that oddly designed horn of his, with the bell tilted up away from the tubing and valves). Then he swells his cheeks into enormous pouches and blows, his neck expanding too, before the movements reverse and he smiles again, this time as though acknowledging applause.
Gillespie follows you into Fat Tuesday's, where there is a large poster of him to the far left of the bandstand. And on a wall opposite the bandstand at the Blue Note, a club a few blocks west and several blocks south, where I heard Gillespie perform with his quintet last year, there is a mural showing a much younger Gillespie in action with some of bebop's other progenitors, including Charlie Parker, on a similar bandstand in the 1940s.
At one point last year Gillespie seemed to be everywhere I looked. I saw him on TV with Johnny Carson, Joan Rivers, and Arsenio Hall (unlike most guests on their programs, he wasn't promoting new "product"—he was just being Dizzy Gillespie), and on the promos for "The Soul of American Music," a black music-awards show on which he appeared to be the token jazz musician. He even turned up last year in an issue of Bon Appetit, in which it was revealed that he once feasted on crocodile in Zaire and that the only thing he ever cooks at home is a breakfast of salmon with grits. In New York last June, I heard him at three different shows in one week, all presented as part of the JVC Jazz Festival. One of these was a tribute to Doc Cheatham, an indefatigable trumpeter twelve years Gillespie's elder. The others were memorials for Dexter Gordon and Sarah Vaughan, both of whom died in 1990, and both of whom made their first important records with Gillespie, in the 1940s.