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Gillespie, Dizzy

Dizzy Gillespie, (Born John Birks Gillespie) was born in rural and beautiful Cheraw, South Carolina in the year 1917. He is considered by music historians as one of the foremost shapers of the jazz trumpet style bebop. Throughout his career, he joined forces with some of the greatest bands and personalities to produce music that has remained at the top of its class. In his early years, he played with Cab Calloway and Earl Hines, leaders in the Big Band Era. His unorthodox bent horn, puffy cheeks, and freewheeling style brought him instant acclaim. For sixty years, he was considered the leading trumpeter of the jazz world, shaping and redefining the jazz movement.

The way his trumpet received its unforgettable shape is somewhat of folklore. It is said that as he was dancing, he accidentally stepped on the instrument, permanently bending it. Too poor to afford another, he continued playing with his bent horn, attracting attention wherever he went. Soon people were asking their instrument dealers for a "Dizzy Gillespie trumpet."

Dizzy Gillespie died in 1993.