Dizzy Gillespie was the youngest of nine children. He performed with a number of groups throughout his career, briefly owned a record company, and made numerous recordings. In 1940 he met Charlie Parker while on tour with Cab Calloway in Kansas City. This was the beginning of a pivotal musical collaboration.
In 1947, Dizzy established his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra and hired Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo (1915-1948), who infused a Latin element into the ensemble's sound.
Did you know?
- In 1953 someone accidentally tripped and fell on Gillespie's trumpet, bending the bell of his horn so it faced up at a 45o angle. He liked the way it sounded even better after the accident and from then on had his horns built that way on purpose. This became Dizzy's trademark.
- Gillespie was an extremely popular performer, with superstar personality and status. On one occasion, upon return home from a European tour, he was met by crowds of cheering fans waving "welcome home" signs.
- Dizzy wrote the popular hit A Night in Tunisia, which became the first Latin-influenced jazz standard.