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Google honors jazz great Dizzy Gillespie with doodle

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Those yellow circles on his face are the famous balloon cheeks that would inflate each time Dizzy Gillespie would put lips to trumpet. On Thursday, the jazz great became the latest cultural icon to be honored with a doodle on Google’s homepage in honor of his 93rd birthday.

Gillespie was a trumpet player and composer who helped bring bebop and Afro-Cuban jazz to the masses through his performances and recordings. He was a contemporary of Charlie Parker, with whom he championed bebop as a new American musical art form.

Famous for his inflatable cheeks, Gillespie cut a memorable figure on the stage and was a prolific concert performer up until his death in 1993 at age 75.

Wynton Marsalis paid tribute Thursday to Gillespie on Facebook, writing that ‘Dizzy was a great dancer, teacher, wit, and spiritual presence. He believed in consolidating musicians and the music, in celebrating and extending its traditions and in bringing its enlightening impact to as many people as possible as often as possible.’

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Other cultural figures who have doodled by Google include Igor Stravinsky, Frida Kahlo, Wayne Thiebaud, Josef Franck and Isaac Albéniz.

-- David Ng


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