Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie

Trompettiste virtuose, véritable showman, compositeur et improvisateur de génie, Dizzy Gillespie a fortement influencé l'histoire du jazz. Il est l'un des pionniers du bebop et du latin jazz.

Virtuoso trumpeter, true showman, composer and improviser of genius, Dizzy Gillespie has strongly influenced the history of jazz. He is one of the pioneers of bebop and Latin jazz.

John Birks Gillespie, known as Dizzy Gillespie, was born in 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina. After playing the trombone for a few years in his school band, he developed a passion for the trumpet at the age of twelve. In 1935, he stopped his studies and moved to Philadelphia to become a professional musician.

He first joined Frankie Fairfax's band, then Teddy Hill's band, and Cab Collaway's band from 1939 to 1941. It was during this period that he met Charlie Parker, with whom he developed a new style of jazz during jam sessions: bebop. He also collaborated with other bebop pioneers (Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald...) and in 1942 he joined Earl Hines' band, which also included Charlie Parker. In 1945, he recorded with the latter the first great titles of bebop: Hot House, Groovin' High, A Night in Tunisia, Salt Peanuts. In 1946, he formed his own group which included, among others, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Milt Jackson.

Dizzy Gillespie is not only a pioneer of bebop, he is also the instigator of Afro-Cuban jazz (or Latin jazz), introducing sounds and rhythms of Latin music to jazz. He first shaped this style with the Cuban trumpeter Mario Bauza, whom he met in Cab Calloway's orchestra, and then a few years later with the percussionist Chano Pozo, with whom he co-wrote the song Manteca (1947).

A true star, Gillespie continued to lead small groups and big bands and to perform all over the world until the end of his life in 1993. He stood out for his eccentric appearance and his devastating sense of humor (hence his nickname Dizzy - "Crazy"), but also for his impressive playing speed and his unbridled improvisations.