Dizzy Gillespie’s 22” 1950s Zildjian Swish Cymbal, $7,995.00
This cymbal belonged to legendary jazz trumpeter and bandleader Dizzy Gillespie. Gillespie was one the early architects of Be-Bop jazz and one of the greatest trumpet players of all time. This cymbal was the cymbal that Gillespie liked all of his drummers to use.
In tracing the cymbal I spoke with Kenwood Dennard, who had played with Gillespie in the 1970s. He was able to share this with me.
”Dizzy strongly encouraged all of his drummers to use the swish with rivets. I wouldn’t have dreamt of arguing with him on that point. He loved that swish cymbal, not used as a crash cymbal but rather as a ride, with oh so much flavor”. The cymbal is also mentioned in Gillespie’s book To Be Or Not To Bop. “He had this old Chinese cymbal with beat up ends and turned up edges. Every drummer who worked with Diz had to play on that cymbal. It was given to him by Cozy Cole”.
The cymbal is a well worn 1950s A. Zildjian 22” Swish with only 2 of its original 17 rivets remaining. There’s a big chunk knocked out of the edge of the cymbal and a very elongated “key hole” at the bell. This cymbal had clearly been around the block a few times!
I found several early videos of Gillespie’s band where you can clearly see and hear what appears to be this cymbal. In “Blues Walk-Dizzy Gillespie” from a 1958 concert in Belgium, you can hear the cymbal’s raspy tone and clearly see the sizzles and turned up edge. In the 1965 “No More Blues” video you can a see the elongated bell hole and about an inch long crack that appears to be the beginning of the missing chunk on the cymbal edge today.
The cymbal was acquired in an auction of Gillespie’s estate. This truly rare piece of jazz history provided the foundation for one of the greatest innovators in the history of jazz.
PRICE: $7,995. Serious offers considered.