John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (October 21, 1917–January 6, 1993) was one of the most recognizable and popular figures in American jazz history. The youngest of nine children, Gillespie owed much of his success to an elementary school teacher who worked to harness his energy and anger by recruiting him for the school band—and he was hooked. His dedication and talent helped him mature into one of the country’s best trumpet players. In the 1940s, the trumpet virtuoso and respected improviser teamed up with musician Charlie Parker to lay the foundations for bebop. His beret, horn–rimmed glasses, bent horn, puffed-out cheeks, and sense of humor made him a fan favorite throughout his sixty–year career as a musical innovator, mentor, and cultural ambassador.