• George

Dizzy Reece is one for the ages

A listen back at Dizzy's career as he celebrates 92 years January 5.

Born 5 January 1931, Reece is the son of a silent film pianist. He attended the Alpha Boys School where he started playing the baritone saxophone before switching to trumpet when he was 14 years old. A full-time musician from the age of 16, he moved to London in 1948 and spent the 1950s working in Europe, much of that time in Paris. He played with Don Byas, Kenny Clarke, Frank Foster and Thad Jones, among others. Recording with British musicians, he led several sessions in London in 1955–1957. Also in London, he recorded what became his first Blue Note album, Blues in Trinity (1958). Donald Byrd and Art Taylor were his sidemen.


Gaining praise from Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, the trumpeter settled in New York City in 1959 and recorded with several of Davis' bandmates. Reece recorded other records for the Blue Note label which were reissued by Mosaic in 2004. Reece has recorded over the years with Hank Mobley, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Ronnie Scott, Phil Seaman, Victor Feldman, Tubby Hayes, Paris Reunion Band, Clifford Jordan’s Big Band, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon, fellow trumpeter Ted Curson, pianist Duke Jordan, long-time Sun Ra alumni saxophonist John Gilmore, and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Art Taylor. Reece wrote the music for the 1958 Ealing Studios film, Nowhere to Go.