Gillespie, Dizzy

Gillespie, Dizzy

Gillespie, Dizzy (John Birks Gillespie), 1917-93, American jazz musician and composer, b. Cheraw, S.C. He began to play the trumpet at 15 and later studied harmony and theory at Laurinburg Institute, N.C. He played with the bands of Cab Calloway and Billy Eckstine. Gillespie and Charlie "Bird" Parker are considered the leaders of the bop (or bebop) movement in modern jazz. Gillespie's playing was characterized by intelligent musicianship and technical facility.

See his autobiography, To Be or Not to Bop (1979); biographies by M. James (1961), B. McRae (1988), and A. Shipton (1999).

orig. John Birks Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie, 1955.

(born Oct. 21, 1917, Cheraw, S.C., U.S.—died Jan. 6, 1993, Englewood, N.J.) U.S. jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader, one of the primary innovators of bebop. Gillespie was influenced by Roy Eldridge and played with the big bands of Cab Calloway, Earl Hines, and Billy Eckstine before leading small groups in the mid-1940s. He pioneered bebop with saxophonist Charlie Parker and pianist Thelonious Monk. Bringing this approach to his big band in the late 1940s, Gillespie popularized the use of Afro-Cuban rhythms in jazz. He alternated between large and small ensembles for the rest of his career. His virtuosity and comic wit (in addition to his puffed cheeks and trademark 45° upturned trumpet bell) made him one of the most charismatic and influential musicians in jazz.

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See also

  • Dizy (disambiguation page)

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