Dizzy Gillespie (1917–1993)

How to say the name:

Gillespie is said like Gil-les-pee.


21st October 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina, USA.

A statue of Dizzy Gillespie in his birth place of Cheraw


6th January 6 1993 in Englewood, New Jersey, USA.


Flushing Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA.

Some great pieces.
  • Night in Tunisia. (See below for a video.)
  • Salt Peanuts.
  • Groovin’ High.
  • Woody n’ You.
Some great albums:
  • The Complete RCA Recordings (1937–1949).
  • Groovin’ High (1945–1946).
  • Jazz at Massey Hall (1953).
  • Gillespiana/Carnegie Hall Concert (1961).
  • Dizzy Gillespie and the Double Six of Paris (1963).
  • Max & Dizzy: Paris (1989).
  • To Diz With Love (1992).
Some interesting facts:
  • He was one of the greatest jazz trumpeters who ever lived!
  • He worked with Charlie Parker to help create ‘Bebop’ jazz. [Bebop is a style of jazz from the early 1940s until the late 1950s. It is often very fast and has very talented playing.]
  • He also created modern ‘Cuban’ jazz, or ‘Cubop’.
  • Many people think that his concert recorded in ‘Jazz at Massey Hall’ was the greatest jazz concert ever! (Charlie Parker and Bud Powell performed with him at this concert too.)
  • From the mid 1950s he played a very unusual trumpet—the end of this trumpet sticks up in the air!
  • His cheeks stuck out in an unusual way when he played the trumpet.
  • He helped many jazz musicians become better at playing, including Miles Davis.
  • His real first name was John.
  • In 1964 he ran for President of the United States! He said that if he were elected, the White House would be called ‘The Blues House’ and his government would include jazz artists such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong!!!

Here is a video of Dizzy Gillespie playing Night in Tunisia.

Dizzy Gillespie playing ‘Night in Tunisia’

And here is a video Dizzy Gillespie playing the trumpet with Arturo Sandoval.

Dizzy Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval on the trumpet

Picture credits:
  1. Dizzy Gillespie. This photograph was taken by Carl Van Vechten in December 1955. The image may be used freely providing one credits the photographer. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
  2. A statue of Dizzy Gillespie in his birth place of Cheraw. This image may be used freely. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
Video credits:
  1. Dizzy Gillespie in Helsinki – A Night in Tunisia. Dizzy Gillespie plays A Night in Tunisia with
    Olli Ahvenlahti – piano, Eero Koivistoinen – saxophone, Reino “Reiska” laine – drums and – upright bass.
  2. Arturo Sandoval And Dizzy Gillespie…. The person who posted this on YouTube writes: Two of the greatest trumpet players, EVER!!!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca Hughes 5th March 2013

This website helped me and my students, and was tons easier to figure out too.

2 moo 27th October 2013

Dizzy Gillespie is amazing I play the trumpet andd I hope to soon be like that he is my hero

3 taelen brooks 18th March 2014


4 reniah parks 16th September 2015

this man dizzy gillespie is a great man, so thats why i wanted to come on his website and look at him, so that i could remember what he was looking like back in his old time days

5 Yasmyn 6th April 2017

Gillespie was a very good musician and he might not have known it but his music helps kids and even adults and i play 12 instruments because of him he inspired me to be who i am today

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