Free Bridge Quintet presents "Dizzy's Atmosphere: A Birthday Celebration for Dizzy Gillespie" featuring special guest artist Bebop Master Hod O'Brien

October 21, 2011 - 8:00pm

The University of Virginia McIntire Department of Music presents the Free Bridge Quintet in concert on Friday, October 21st at 8pm in Old Cabell Hall.

Dizzy’s Atmosphere

The Free Bridge Quintet is excited to welcome jazz piano great Hod O'Brien as their special guest artist for the 94th birthday celebration of John Birks Gillespie in a concert entitled Dizzy’s Atmosphere.

There are jazz legends and then there are the “underground of the jazz renowned” – those who, although not as well known to the general public, are hailed by critics, revered by their legendary peers, influential upon younger players and sought after by collectors and cognoscenti. Hod O’Brien certainly falls into this category. Renowned for his artistry in both Europe and Japan, Hod remains somewhat of a hidden treasure in his own country. He burst upon the jazz scene in the late 50s when he came to New York City and performed with other bop-influenced players like Pepper Adams, Kenny Burrell, Oscar Pettiford and Stan Getz, to name a few. “Playing with Hod is an amazing experience,” according to Free Bridge bassist Peter Spaar. “He’s a direct link to that incredible music scene that was going on in New York in the 50’s and when you play with him, you can feel it. The way he swings; his amazing melodic lines that unwind over whole choruses; It’s like, ‘Oh, so this is how you play bop!”

How fitting, then, that Hod will be joining the Free Bridge Quintet to celebrate the music of Dizzy Gillespie, who, along with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and others, is one of Bebop’s founding fathers. Known for his amazing trumpet technique (not to mention his cheeks!), and his hipster style and wit, Gillespie’s contributions to jazz as a composer are sometimes overlooked. In honor of his birthday (October 21, 1917), the Quintet will perform several of his lasting contributions to the jazz repertoire, including “Groovin’ High”, “Con Alma”, “Be Bop”, and many more.

The Free Bridge Quintet is the official faculty jazz quintet of the University of Virginia McIntire Department of Music. It features Jeff Decker on saxophones, Robert Jospe on the drums, Peter Spaar on bass, and John D'earth on trumpet and flugelhorn and special guest Hod O’Brien on piano. (Note: Free Bridge Quintet pianist Wells Hanley is on leave this semester.)

Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for students, and free for UVa students who reserve in advance. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Arts Box Office at or by calling 434.924.3376.


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176