Audio Stories

How Dizzy's Horn got bent

June Cross: I didn't get the Dizzy story. How did Dizzy's trumpet get bent?
Norma Storch: We were in, ah, a nightclub in New York. This was...
Larry Storch: Snooky's.
NS: Snooky's, yeah. It was on 52nd Street or something off Seventh Avenue, and Jimmy was drunk that night. And we were in there having drinks, and Dizzy Gillespie was playing and they asked-- in those days, stars, when they were in the audience, always got up and performed. I mean, it was just something that one did. I mean everytime I would go out with Larry, you know, before we married, and he was in an audience, like Jimmy Durante would call him up or... I mean anybody, you know. And he'd get up and do five minutes. So anyway, Jimmy was drunk this night, and Dizzy Gillespie was playing on the bandstand, and he asked Jimmy to get up and do a turn, come up and do a few jokes. And so Jimmy got up. I forget whether Harold was with us or not, was he? Did Harold say what?
JC: He says he was, yeah.
NS: Yeah, okay then, Harold Cromer was with him. And they got up and did their bit. And then Jimmy was so drunk, he fell off the bandstand that was there, and he stepped on Dizzy's trumpet or fell on it, whatever it was. At any rate, it went into that shape, you know, that elbow shape that it was into. And I was so- God, so, I mean aghast. I mean we worried about this, or I did. Jimmy was too drunk...
JC: Was Dizzy in the room when it happened?
NS: Oh, yeah, and he was furious. He was so mad.
JC: Did you hear him yell from the back?
NS: Oh, yes, I mean the screams and the yells, and I said, I gave Jimmy a hundred dollar bill, and I said, "Here, go give him this money and tell him,you know, " and we ran out of the club, I mean. Because I'm sure he would have really beat Jimmy up or whatever. I mean he was so mad. And everybody, you know, said he'd ruined the horn. And to ruin a musician's instrument was just the worst thing that you can do.
LS: Years later I said to Dizzy Gillespie, I said that it turned out to be, he said the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.
NS: Well, it was.

Harold Cromer: So when Jimmy and I were standing, he comes up, Dizzy on the stage, and we're doing a whole bunch of crazy lines, stupid, you're boozed up now, and they're all kind of crazy lines. And he comes up and pushes me back. And when he pushes me back, I fall back on the trumpet. And it went up in the air. So he's, oh, shit. Damn. The trumpet, man. Messed up the trumpet. So we started joking. Now everybody's laughing. Jimmy ain't going to stop. He just keeps on doing whatever he's going to do. And Dizzy's, now he goes and grabs the trumpets, and the trumpet's all up, and people are laughing, because the trumpet's like this now.
JC:Why does Dizzy say it was Stump that fell on the trumpet?
HC:Well it was, it could have been Jimmy. It could have been me. So let's say Stump fell on the trumpet. But anyway, he fell on the trumpet. Dizzy was pushing him back. You had to see the act the way we used to do it. I was trying to make this speech, and Jimmy would go, Jimmy would push me back. Yeah, right, he'd do all that. That's the way that worked. And that's what Dizzy was doing. So when he went back, the horn went up in the air.

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