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April 14, 1981

Jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie performed with pianist Dwike Mitchell and bassist Adjunct Professor of Music Willie Ruff as part of a Dickinson-Kayden event in Skinner Hall. Gillespie, wrote Ken Franklin ’82 in The Miscellany News, “blew the roof off Skinner Hall,” with “an inspired repertoire ranging from Duke Ellington standards to some original compositions by Dwike Mitchell. Mr. Gillespie, despite his age [63], still blows his bent-up trumpet as sweetly as ever…. He commented during the show that it’s tough playing with the young guys. He was referring to the absolutely incomparable piano of Dwike Mitchell, whose playing the audience will never forget.”

A graduate and faculty member of the Yale University School of Music, Professor Ruff performed, frequently with Dwike Mitchell, with the Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie orchestras and was one of the first jazz ambassadors to the Soviet Union and to the People’s Republic of China. Among his ethnomusicological studies—according to his Yale School of Music résumé—were “an international conference on the Neurophysiology of Rhythmic Perception,” creation of “computerized music based on the theories of seventeenth-century astronomer Johannes Kepler” and a “project on congregational line singing” leading to a conference at Yale “comparing the traditions practiced in Alabama, Kentucky, and the Gaelic-speaking Free Church Presbyterians in the Scottish Highlands.”

Mildred Bernstein Kayden ’42 established the Dickinson-Kayden Fund in 1966, in honor of the late Professor of Music George Sherman Dickinson.

The Years