Gillespie died of pancreatic cancer in Englewood, NJ, where he was a longtime resident. He was 75 yrs old.
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was a jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer and occasional singer. Allmusic’s Scott Yanow wrote, “Dizzy Gillespie’s contributions to jazz were huge.
One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time (some would say the best), Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up copying Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, and it was not until Jon Faddis’ emergence in the 1970s that Dizzy’s style was successfully recreated . . . Arguably Gillespie is remembered, by both critics and fans alike, as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time.”
Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic complexity previously unknown in jazz. His beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality were essential in popularizing bebop.
In the 1940s Gillespie, together with Charlie Parker, became a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz.
He taught and influenced many other musicians, including trumpeters Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan, Jon Faddis and Chuck Mangione.
Read about his funeral & legacy at: Daily Black History Facts