American Music (page 2 of 2)

Treasures of American History

American Music (page 2 of 2)

Dizzy Gillespie’s Trumpet, 1972

Modern-jazz virtuoso Dizzy Gillespie played this customized King “Silver Flair” trumpet from 1972 to 1985. He adopted the signature angled design in 1954, after someone accidentally bent his horn and he discovered he liked the sound that resulted.

In the 1940s, Gillespie helped develop an innovative style known as “bebop,” or “bop,” which marked the birth of modern jazz. Featuring intricate improvisations, complex harmonies, and rapid rhythms, bebop reflected a desire among African American artists to reclaim jazz from the commercial mainstream and elevate it from dance music to a sophisticated art form.

Tito Puente’s Timbales, 1996

Bandleader and percussionist Tito Puente played these timbales during the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Puente traditionally performed in front of the orchestra, a position that showcased his exuberant style.

A native of New York’s Spanish Harlem, Puente fused the Afro-Cuban rhythms of his Puerto Rican roots with jazz melodies to create sensational dance music. As one of the “mambo kings” of the 1950s, and later in collaboration with other jazz and salsa artists, he brought Latin sounds to the forefront of American popular culture.0

Prince’s Electric Guitar, 1989

Called the “Yellow Cloud,” this guitar was designed and played by Prince. The fingerboard is decorated with the artist’s personal icon, a combination of male and female symbols.

Launched to superstardom by the 1984 album Purple Rain, Prince has put his singular mark on American popular music as a performer, songwriter, producer, and innovator. Blending influences that include funk, gospel, hip-hop, and rock, his music has had broad appeal and reflected his distinctive personality.