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Dizzy Gillespie

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Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie in 1955
Background information
Birth name John Birks Gillespie
Born October 21, 1917(1917-10-21)
Cheraw, South Carolina, U.S.
Died January 6, 1993(1993-01-06) (aged 75)
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupations Musician, composer
Instruments Trumpet
Years active 1935–1993
Associated acts Charlie Parker, Cab Calloway

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, singer and composer.

As an instrumentalist, bandleader, singer, and composer, Gilliespie was the youngest of nine children. His father was a local bandleader, so instruments were made available to him at an early age.[1] He started to play the piano at the age of 9.

Nicknamed Dizzy because of how he acts during performances, Gillespie set new standards for trumpet players with his innovative rhythmic and harmonic explorations. This definitive change moved American jazz from swing to 'bebop'. Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of modern jazz.

Gillespie died on January 6, 1993 at age 75 from pancreatic cancer. At the time of his death Gillespie had two funerals. One was a Bahá´í funeral at his request, at which his closest friends and colleagues attended. The second was at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York open to the public where everyone can attend.[2]


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