John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (; October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer.
Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic complexity previously unheard 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, 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, Jon Faddis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan, Chuck Mangione, and balladeer Johnny Hartman.
AllMusic's Scott Yanow wrote: "Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up being similar to those of Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, and it was not until Jon Faddis's 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".
He is also known as John Birks Gillespie and John Birks Dizzy Gillespie.
A longtime resident of Englewood, New Jersey he died of pancreatic cancer on January 6, 1993, aged 75, and was buried in the Flushing Cemetery, Queens, New York City. Mike Longo delivered a eulogy at his funeral. He was also with Gillespie on the night he died.
Gillespie was survived by his widow, Lorraine Willis Gillespie (died 2004); a daughter, jazz singer Jeanie Bryson; and a grandson, Radji Birks Bryson-Barrett. Gillespie had two funerals. One was a Bahá'í funeral at his request, at which his closest friends and colleagues attended. The second was at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City open to the public.
Dwight Morrow High School, the public high school of Englewood, New Jersey, renamed their auditorium the Dizzy Gillespie Auditorium, in memory of him.