Dizzy Gillespie Photography

Dizzy Gillespie

Few men have made as a much of a difference in jazz, bebop, and Afro-Cuban jazz circles as Dizzy Gillespie. This trumpet virtuoso, bandleader, and composer—and occasional singer—is considered one of the revolutionary forefathers of modern jazz. His distinctive performance style and harmonic complexities proved so powerful they influenced Miles Davis, Arturo Sandoval, Chuck Mangione, and many others.

In addition to being a prolific solo artist, Dizzy also popped up on prominent projects by Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones as an all-star sideman. Across it all, Gillespie was a master improviser and colorful character, whose larger-than-life visual trademarks included a “bent” trumpet and puffed-out cheeks whenever he played.

Performing constantly from his first gig in 1935 until near the end of his life in 1993, fans could always look forward to his “Sound of Surprise.” This National Medal of Arts and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner continues to be immortalized through pop culture corners as widespread as The New Guy movie to the Marvel Comics’ Hawkeye series.

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