Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday: Celia Cruz & Dizzy Gillespie

Celia Cruz
(October 21, 1925 — July 16, 2003)

Celia Cruz (born in Havana, Cuba as Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso on October 21, 1925) was a Cuban salsa singer, and was one of the most successful Salsa performers of the 20th century, with twenty-three gold albums to her name. She was renowned internationally as the "Queen of Salsa" as well as "La Guarachera de Cuba".

Dizzy Gillespie
(October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993)

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina on October 21, 1917. Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of Bebop and modern Jazz. He taught and influenced many other musicians, including trumpeters Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan, and John Faddis.

In addition to featuring in the epochal moments in Bebop, he was instrumental in founding Afro-Cuban Jazz, the modern Jazz version of what early-jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton referred to as the "Spanish Tinge". Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and gifted improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic complexity previously unknown in jazz. Dizzy's beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality were essential in popularizing bebop.

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