John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (1917- ), a native of Cheraw, began playing the trombone and the trumpet in 1929. He studied harmony and music theory at Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina before joining Cab Calloway's band as a trumpeter. By 1945 he was well known in the music world as a performer with such great jazz artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Calloway. In 1956, he became the first jazz musician to take his own Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra on an overseas tour sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Cheraw has named a street in his honor, he was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame, and in this March 9, 1976, photo for the Columbia "Record" by Vic Tutte, he entertains members of the South Carolina legislature who had passed a resolution honoring him for his contribution to the arts.
Courtesy of "The State" newspaper.
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