Dizzy Gillespie in 1955
|Birth name||John Birks Gillespie|
October 21, 1917|
Cheraw, South Carolina, U.S.
|Died||January 6, 1993
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
|Associated acts||Charlie Parker, Cab Calloway|
As an instrumentalist, bandleader, singer, and composer, Gilliespie was the youngest of nine children. His father was a local bandleader, so instruments were made available to him at an early age. He started to play the piano at the age of 9.
Nicknamed Dizzy because of how he acts during performances, Gillespie set new standards for trumpet players with his innovative rhythmic and harmonic explorations. This definitive change moved American jazz from swing to 'bebop'. Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of modern jazz.
Gillespie died on January 6, 1993 at age 75 from pancreatic cancer. At the time of his death Gillespie had two funerals. One was a Bahá´í funeral at his request, at which his closest friends and colleagues attended. The second was at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York open to the public where everyone can attend.