Doc: Dizzy Gillespie, 1990

Day #1: In 1990, a documentary about trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie was released that featured not a word of voice-over narration. Instead, To Bop or Not to Be: A Jazz Life, by Norwegian director Jan Horne

, simply featured musician interviews in English, concert performances and archival footage. My guess is this approach was favored so the filmmakers wouldn’t have to translate or provide subtitles for non-Norwegian viewers. The result is a surprising film without guardrails for Norwegian television that showcased the exceptionalism of Gillespie—his musicianship, his humor and his modernist invention called bebop. Here’s the documentary…