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Image of Dizzy Gillespie

Yousuf Karsh
Canadian, born Armenia, 1908–2002

Dizzy Gillespie


Object Type: Photograph
20 in. x 23 in. (50.8 cm x 58.42 cm)
Medium and Support: Gelatin silver print on paper
Accession Number: 2013.0005.0022

Credit Line: Gift of Estrellita Karsh, in honor of Mark M. Johnson, and in memory of Yousuf Karsh
Copyright: © Estate of Yousuf Karsh

Dizzy Gillespie (1917–1993) John Birks Gillespie played piano at age four and learned trombone and trumpet by age twelve. He played with the big bands of Teddy Hill, Billy Eckstein, and Cab Calloway, and developed his distinctive improvisational style of jazz and mastery of the difficult high register. With saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker, he innovated bebop. Gillespie enjoyed a long, productive, and successful career, traveling the world in his sixties. The year before Karsh photographed him with his iconic “bent” trumpet, the seventy-two-year-old Gillespie gave 300 performances in 27 countries, performed with two symphonies, headlined three TV specials, and recorded four albums.

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