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Image for Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie (musician, born October 21, 1917, Cheraw, South Carolina; died January 6, 1993) With his great ballooning cheeks and trademark trumpet's bell upturned at a 45-degree angle, Dizzy Gillespie easily has the most recognizable face in jazz. He is also easily one of the most influential figures in that most American of musical forms, having first revolutionized jazz in the 40s by being one of the acknowledged inventors of bebop; and then again in the decades that followed when he championed the rich rhythms of Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, and Brazilian music that, to a large extent, still dominate jazz to this very day. Born John Birks Gillespie, Dizzy moved to Philadelphia with his family at age 18 and joined Frankie Fairfax's band before moving on to New York City and Teddy Hill's big band in 1937, Later he played with all the greats--Ella Fitzgerald. Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Earl Hines, and Billie Holliday. He met saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker in 1940 and soon was jamming with Parker, Thelonious Monk, and others.

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