Dizzy Gillespie deservedly ranks amongst the most influential and innovative jazz musicians of all times. Every note played with his trumpet captivated a legion of devout followers from all different age demographics and cultural backgrounds. Only Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong can tread the waters of his talent and his ever-growing legend, which was propelled by his revolutionary style. The Bebop revolution would have been a real yawner without notable Dizzy Gillespie tracks and stunning collaborations with top artists from the time period. He played alongside great musicians like Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Earl Hines, Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk, Max Roach and Coleman Hawkins. His career was well decorated with a mantle full of awards and memories of elated crowds from the most legendary venues in the country. Countless times the collective sigh of the crowd would be followed by wide-eyed enthusiasm, dancing and an eruption of applause.
John Birks Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina in 1917 (Aycock, 1997). He grew up in a modest, blue collar family of nine children, and enjoyed a childhood of love and discipline (Aycock, 1997). His upbringing no doubt helped him avoid some of the common pitfalls many popular musicians faced. In addition to laying bricks, his father was the leader of a local band (Aycock, 1997). Dizzy was often exposed to many different instruments and unique styles of music, often times experimenting with the instruments while his father was gone (Horricks, 1984). Intrigued by music Dizzy began his fast-track toward perfecting his craft early in life, a brand of enthusiasm towards learning that never left him. Dizzy began playing the trombone at the age of fourteen, but soon found true love after experimenting with a neighbor’s trumpet (Aycock, 1997). By the age of eighteen, Gillespie found employment in the music business, when he began playing with the Frank...
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