Dizzy Gillespie biography
 

Dizzy Gillespie

Artist: Dizzy Gillespie 
Born:October 21, 1917 , Cheraw, South Carolina.
Died:January 6, 1993
Summary:Trumpet virtuoso who helped usher in the bebop era in jazz. Composed many famous standards including Night in Tunisia.
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Dizzy Gillespie Biography


Dizzy Gillespie photographed by , 1955
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Dizzy Gillespie photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1955

Dizzy Gillespie (October 21, 1917 - January 6, 1993) was born John Birks Gillespie in Cheraw, South Carolina. He was an African-American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, singer, and composer. Gillespie, with Charlie Parker, was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz.

Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and gifted improviser. In addition to his instrumental skills, Dizzy's beret and horn-rimmed specs, his goofy scat singing, his bent horn and pouched cheeks, and his light-hearted personality put a human face on what many, including some of its creators, regarded as threatening and frightening music. In his playing, Gillespie built on the 'saxophonic' style of Roy Eldridge and then went far beyond it.

The bebop quintet of the 40s with Gillespie on trumpet, Parker on alto saxophone, Max Roach on drums, and Bud Powell on piano had a remarkably high concentration of musicianship.

In addition to his work with Parker, Gillespie led small combos and big bands and appeared frequently as a soloist with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. Early in his career, he appeared with Cab Calloway, who fired him for playing 'Chinese music'. The legendary big band of Billy Eckstine gave those unusual harmonies a better setting. In the 50s, Gillespie led the movement called Afro-Cuban music, bringing Latin and African elements to greater prominence in jazz and even pop music, particularly salsa.

Gillespie wrote a number of songs, notably 'Manteca', 'A Night in Tunisia', 'Birk's Works', and 'Con Alma', all jazz classics.

Dizzy Gillespie tribute statue, Cheraw, South Carolina
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Dizzy Gillespie tribute statue, Cheraw, South Carolina

Cheek distention is purportedly called 'Gillespie's pouch' in the medical community.

Gillespie published his autobiography, To Be or not to Bop in 1979, ISBN 0306802368.

Dizzy Gillespie was one of the most famous adherents of the Bahá'í Faith to the point that he is often called the Bahá'í Jazz Embassador.

Gillespie is credited as the inventor of the 'Superbone' (a trombone with both a slide and valves), however this instrument was manufactured in the early 20th century (including by C.G. Conn).

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Items to buy by Dizzy Gillespie



The Dizzy Gillespie Collection - Trumpet (Trumpet). By Dizzy Gillespie. For trumpet. Hal Leonard Artist Transcriptions. Bebop. Difficulty: medium. Trumpet solo book. Chord names and introductory text. 104 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

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Volume 9 - Dizzy Gillespie "(Jazz Play-Along Volume 9). For all Bb, Eb and C instruments. Hal Leonard Jazz Play Along. Bebop and Play Along. Instrumental solo book and accompaniment CD. 68 pages. Published by Hal Leonard"

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Groovin' High By Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993). Arranged by Rick Stitzel. Score & Parts. Young Jazz Classics. Grade 3. Softcover. Published by Hal Leonard

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A Night In Tunisia "By Dizzy Gillespie. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Jazz; Latin; Standards. 7 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

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A Night In Tunisia By Dizzy Gillespie. For piano. Jazz; Latin; Standards. 5 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music

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A Night In Tunisia By Dizzy Gillespie. By Frank Paparelli. Jazz; Latin; Standards. Fakebook. 2 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music

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A Night in Tunisia By Dizzy Gillespie. By Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993) and Frank Paparelli. Arranged by Roger Holmes. Score & Parts. Easy Jazz Combo. Grade 2. Published by Hal Leonard

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Manteca "By Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993), Walter Gil Fuller, and Luciano Pozo Gonzales. Arranged by Michael Sweeney. Score & Parts. Easy Jazz Ensemble Series. Grade 2. Published by Hal Leonard"

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Solos for Jazz Trumpet By Bronislau Kaper Victor Young. Arranged by Freddie Hubbard Dizzy Gillespie. For Trumpet. All that Jazz. Solo part. Standard notation. 54 pages. Published by Carl Fischer

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A Night in Tunisia By Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993) and Frank Paparelli. Arranged by Michael Philip Mossman. Professional Editions-Jazz Ens. Grade 5. Published by Hal Leonard

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Dizzy Gillespie (A Step-by-Step Breakdown of the Trumpet Styles and Techniques of a Jazz Master). By Dizzy Gillespie. Signature Licks Trumpet. Softcover with CD. 40 pages. Published by Hal Leonard

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In the Land of Oo-bla-dee "By Dizzy Gillespie Big Band. Edited by Jeffrey Sultanof. Arranged by Mary Lou Williams. For jazz big band (voice, 2 alto saxophones, 2 tenor saxophones, baritone saxophone, 5 trumpets (tpt 5 featured solo), 3 trombones, piano, bass, drums). Ranges: Trump

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When I Grow Too Old To Dream "By Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Standards. Piano/Vocal/Guitar. 6 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

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A Night in Tunisia By Dizzy Gillespie. Arranged by Michael Sweeney. Easy Jazz Ensemble Series. Grade 2. Published by Hal Leonard

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A Night In Tunisia "By Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie. For piano, voice, and guitar (chords only). Jazz; Latin; Standards. PV. 3 pages. Published by Hal Leonard - Digital Sheet Music"

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Con Alma By Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993). Arranged by Michael Philip Mossman. Jazz Ensemble Library. Grade 5-6. Published by Hal Leonard

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