Born on October 21, 1917, in Cheraw, South Carolina, Dizzy Gillespie, known for his “swollen” cheeks and signature (uniquely angled) trumpet’s bell, got his start in the mid-1930s by working in prominent swing bands, including those of Benny Carter and Charlie Barnet. He later created his own band and developed his own signature style, known as “bebop,” and worked with musical greats like Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Earl Hines, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. Gillespie’s best-known compositions include “Oop Bob Sh’ Bam,” “Groovin’ High,” “Salt Peanuts,” “A Night in Tunisia” and “Johnny Come Lately.” Gillespie died in New Jersey in 1993. Today, he is considered one of the most influential figures of jazz and bebop.
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