Musically, the genre was characterized by constant improvisation, lightning tempo and a harmonic scale marked by a preponderance of flat notes. And socially? Gillespie once explained things thus: "We don't flat our fifths, we drink them!"
[Gillespie's virtuosity was legendary. Said trumpeter Graham Haynes (son of Gillespie collaborator Roy Haynes): "Dizzy scared the living s--- out of me. I felt like--I'll never be able to play like that. The licks were flying around at 200 miles an hour. I don't know how he did it."]
[When James Moody first auditioned to play with Gillespie and Charlie Parker, he didn't make it. The reason? He didn't play loud enough!]