The Yale Film Study Center has completed preservation of The Beginnings of Bebop (1981), a film that documents a guided tour of significant locations in the history of bebop music, led by legendary trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. After completing work on a film with Gillespie about the songs and games of enslaved people in the Sea Islands of Georgia, filmmaker, musician, and Yale music professor Willie Ruff '53BM '54MM took advantage of his remaining time with Gillespie by asking him to lead him and his musical partner, pianist Dwike Mitchell, around New York for an afternoon. Gillespie took them to important bebop places and spaces such as Minton's Playhouse, Carnegie Hall, and the former site of the Savoy Ballrom, and even made an unannounced stop at Miles Davis's home. Working from the original 16mm A/B reversal elements donated by the filmmaker, the Film Study Center has created new preservation negatives and prints, as well as digital elements, for the film.
Image: Mitchell and Gillespie in The Beginnings of Bebop.