The innovative collaboration between jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker is celebrated within a double-sided, accordion-fold format.
Golio’s text both describes and echoes the playful aspects of Bird and Diz’s music as “They take turns, / tossing notes back and forth like jugglers, // or play at the same time, / saxophone and trumpet / singing together.” Then, “Diz’s cheeks swell up, / like a frog with glasses. / He points his trumpet and shoots out fireworks. / Tag, Bird—you’re it!” On the first 12 panels, which make up one long, unfurling side of the pleated sheet, Golio focuses on the musicians’ onstage interplay. On the reverse panels, the music itself’s the focus. “Bebop—fast jazz…. // It’s fall on your face or fly!” Young layers pastels and gouache on golden brown, water-resistant paper, giving each musician a distinctive color aura. Dizzy’s is neon orange and fuchsia, while Bird’s is teal green and periwinkle with violet accents. These auras not only visually distinguish each musician, but morph, on the verso panels, into a color-coded visual notation, articulating solos and unison playing—a bebop ECG! Inked contour lines and looping calligraphy skitter and skip like Diz’s staccato trumpet bleats. Alas, the choice of Tempus Sans for the text type sounds the one sour note here: Its twee whimsy’s more suited to lullabies than hip, mid20th-century bebop.
Exuberant and gorgeous—like the music. (afterword, suggested recordings) (Picture book. 4-8)