Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie

Jazz Trumpeter

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, composer and, occasionally, singer. Allmusic's Scott Yanow wrote, "Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up copying Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, and it was not until Jon Faddis's emergence in the 1970s that Dizzy's style was successfully recreated . . .… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Dizzy Gillespie.


1917 Birth Born on October 21, 1917.


1935 17 Years Old Gillespie's first professional job was with the Frank Fairfax Orchestra in 1935, after which he joined the respective orchestras of Edgar Hayes and Teddy Hill, essentially replacing Roy Eldridge as first trumpet in 1937. … Read More
1937 19 Years Old In August 1937 while gigging with Hayes in Washington D.C., Gillespie met a young dancer named Lorraine Willis who worked a Baltimore–Philadelphia–New York City circuit which included the Apollo Theater. Willis was not immediately friendly but Gillespie was attracted anyway. The two finally married on May 9, 1940.


1939 - 1942 3 More Events
1943 25 Years Old In 1943, Gillespie joined the Earl Hines band. … Read More
1945 27 Years Old 1 More Event
Then, Gillespie joined the big band of Hines' long-time collaborator Billy Eckstine, and it was as a member of Eckstine's band that he was reunited with Charlie Parker, a fellow member. In 1945, Gillespie left Eckstine's band because he wanted to play with a small combo. … Read More
1946 28 Years Old He also headlined the 1946 independently produced musical revue film Jivin' in Be-Bop.


1948 30 Years Old In 1948 Gillespie was involved in a traffic accident when the bicycle he was riding was bumped by an automobile. … Read More
1953 35 Years Old On January 6, 1953 Gillespie threw a party for his wife Lorraine at Snookie's in Manhattan, where his trumpet's bell got bent upward in an accident, but he liked the sound so much he had a special trumpet made with a 45 degree raised bell, becoming his trademark.
1956 38 Years Old In 1956 Gillespie organized a band to go on a State Department tour of the Middle East which was extremely well received internationally and earned him the nickname "the Ambassador of Jazz". … Read More


1960 42 Years Old In 1960, he was inducted into the Down Beat magazine's Jazz Hall of Fame. During the 1964 United States presidential campaign the artist, with tongue in cheek, put himself forward as an independent write-in candidate. … Read More


1979 61 Years Old Gillespie published his autobiography, To Be or Not to Bop, in 1979. … Read More
1982 64 Years Old In 1982, Gillespie had a cameo appearance on Stevie Wonder's hit "Do I Do". … Read More
1988 70 Years Old In 1988, Gillespie had worked with Canadian flautist and saxophonist Moe Koffman on their prestigious album Oo Pop a Da. … Read More
1989 71 Years Old In 1989 Gillespie gave 300 performances in 27 countries, appeared in 100 U.S. cities in 31 states and the District of Columbia, headlined three television specials, performed with two symphonies, and recorded four albums. … Read More
1992 74 Years Old November 26, 1992 at Carnegie Hall in New York City, following the Second Bahá'í World Congress was Gillespie's 75th birthday concert and his offering to the celebration of the centenary of the passing of Bahá'u'lláh. … Read More
In 1993 he received the Polar Music Prize in Sweden.
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dizzy_Gillespie.
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