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Dizzy Gillespie #2104

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

In addition to featuring in these epochal moments in jazz, he was instrumental in founding Afro-Cuban jazz, the modern jazz version of the “Spanish Tinge”. Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and gifted improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic complexity previously unknown in jazz. In addition to his instrumental skills, Dizzy’s beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality were essential in popularizing bebop, which was originally regarded as threatening and frightening music by many listeners raised on older styles of jazz. He had an enormous impact on virtually every subsequent trumpeter, both by the example of his playing and as a mentor to younger musicians.

He also used a trumpet whose bell was bent at a 45 degree angle rather than a traditional straight trumpet. This was originally the result of accidental damage, but the constriction caused by the bending altered the tone of the instrument, and Gillespie liked the effect.

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