Bill Dearango

Bill DeArango is arguably the most technically skilled and innovative guitarist to emerge in the bebop era. However, he remains little-known outside of the jazz community. He recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, but he returned to Cleveland to resume his successful career. DeArango resurfaced only occasionally in the 50 years that followed. DeArango was born September 20, 1921. He was a self-taught musician and worked as a drummer in Columbus-area Dixieland bands when he was a student at Ohio State University. After serving in the U.S. Army between 1942 and 1944, DeArango settled in New York City. He made his Big Apple debut playing in Don Byas’ band at 52nd Street’s Three Deuces. Byas was also the one who landed him a permanent gig that night with Ben Webster, Byas’s rival. DeArango’s remarkable playing was due to Charlie Christian’s single-string approach. He quickly became a master of the new bop lexicon and left Webster’s band after one year to join Parker u0026 Gillespie for his first recording date with Sarah Vaughan. DeArango’s first session with Haven was in late 1945. He recruited Webster to play tenor sax and he continued his support for Slam Stewart, Ike Quebec and Eddie “Lockjaw”. His most famous recording is the 1946 Gillespie-led date, which produced the classics “A Night in Tunisia”, “Ol’ Man Bebop” and “Anthropology.” He then worked as a trumpeter for Ray Nance, before forming his own band with Terry Gibbs, co-leader/vibist. DeArango returned abruptly to Cleveland in 1947, and his career was halted. He did not return to wax after a 1954 EmArcy collaboration featuring John Williams. However, he continued playing local music and owned a University Heights-area record store, which was a hub for local jazz musicians. Rock was born.

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