Dizzy Diz

johnMagruderMy late husband, John (Magruder) was the original baritone player with the Don Ellis Big Band. He also wrote some of those infamous time charts that made the Band such a stand-out favorite. They played to college and university audiences as well as clubs all over North America and Europe. Locally, they played at places like Bonesville. Don, John and a few other Band members became co-club owners and opened Ellis Island in North Hollywood. Apparently being night club owners took more time and effort than anyone had to spare…so it closed.. The Band continued to record and play live in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In 1967, they were invited to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival for the first time. John used to love to tell this story….
The whole band was on stage, set up and ready to play. Dizzy Gillespie walked up to the mic to introduce Don and the Band. He turned to look at the players and noticed John sitting at the opposite end of the stage with his horns.
Diz smiled his great big famous grin and said (on mic), “Well,  if it isn’t John Magruder….hey ‘Red’, I haven’t seen you in a long time!” He then went over to John….reached out and picked him up off his chair…Baritone and all, and showed him to the audience! He gave him a bear hug and put him back…”See you later, man”. The crowd loved it. So did John. (John was about 5’9” and the Bari was almost as big!). I only wish that I had been there. Oh, to be hugged by the Great Diz!!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *