Dizzy Gillespie

John Birks “Dizzy”, Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader and singer. He died in 1993. Gillespie was, along with Charlie Parker (Bird), a key figure in the development bebop music and modern jazz. He also played a significant role in the founding of Afro-Cuban Jazz. Gillespie was both a gifted improviser and a trumpet player. Dizzy was known for his musical talents, but also his beret, horn-rimmed glasses, his scat sing, bent horn, and cheeky smile made him a popular choice for music that was often feared and scary. Gillespie’s playing drew on the “saxophonic” style of Roy Eldridge, as well as the harmonic complexity of Charlie Parker. But he went beyond Bird. Dizzy, unlike Miles Davis, made it a point to enthusiastically teach future generations about the convolutions and bop. He was known for his trademark actions, such as distending his cheeks when he played (unlike most trumpet players who are not trained to do so) and using a trumpet with a bell that was bent at forty-five degrees rather than a standard straight trumpet. Although this was initially accidental damage, the constrictions caused by the bending affected the instrument’s tone, which Gillespie loved. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

Leave a Comment