Dizzy Gillespie was born as John Birks Gillespie on October 21, 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina. "Dizzy was the youngest child in his household, and his father, who beat his children, died when Dizzy was ten." His father was a bricklayer, pianist, and band leader, and his mother's name was Lottie. His father kept all the band instruments in the house. So most of his early life he was around many different instruments, his father even tore down a wall to get his piano in the house. When he was very young he started to play the piano before the trumpet because it was the instrument that his father played.
In 1930, Dizzy tried playing the trombone but he was too small to play it correctly. So one night that year he started to play a friend's trumpet to the sounds of Roy Eldridge in Teddy Hill's Orchestra. He was only 13 years old at this time and was obsessed with Roy Eldridge's music. Then "in 1933, after graduating from Robert Smalls secondary school, Gillespie received a music scholarship to attend Laurinburg Institute, in North Carolina." In 1935, Dizzy moved to Philadelphia with his family and there he started to play with local bands, it was here he got the nickname, Dizzy. Then in 1937, Gillespie moved to New York and replaced Roy Eldridge in Teddy Hill's Orchestra. Then a couple years later he moved into Cab Calloway's band in 1939. He soon after lost his spot in the band because Calloway said "Gillespie spit a fireball at him during a concert". Dizzy was upset at the accusation and then "stabbed Calloway in the leg with a small knife". Then Dizzy teamed up with Charlie Parker in 1945 and played in famous jazz clubs like Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House, where bebop was beginning. Many of Dizzy's music sounded "very different, harmonically, and rhythmically than the Swing music popular at the time". Gillespie taught many of the younger musicians, like Miles Davis, about the new style of jazz. The one thing that he was...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document