On this day 100 years ago, jazz trumpeter, composer, and singer Dizzy Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina. A virtuoso improviser, he added layers of harmonic complexity previously unheard in jazz. Known for his inflated cheeks, horn-rimmed spectacles, scat singing, and bent horn, Gillespie joined Charlie Parker in the forefront of bebop and modern jazz. Born to a poor bandleader who died when he was nine, the enthusiastic practitioner of the BaHa’i faith became one of the most accomplished trumpeters of all time, teaching and influencing many other musicians, including Miles Davis. WATCH a delightful 1982 interview… (1917)

A longtime resident of Englewood, New Jersey, the bandleader who said his quintet had “more love than any 100 piece band”, died of pancreatic cancer in 1993 at age 75, while he was still an active performer. He was buried in the Flushing Cemetery, Queens.

More Good News on this Date:

  • Thomas Edison, after frustrating months testing the usual choice, platinum wire, to light an electric bulb, decided to try carbonized cotton thread–and the first commercially practical incandescent light bulb lasted 13½ hours before burning out (1879)
  • Warren G. Harding delivered the first speech by a sitting U.S. President that condemned the lynching of African-Americans in the deep South, despite evidence of wide opposition among white voters (1921)
  • The first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls was published, a book about a guerrilla fighter during the Spanish Civil War, which sold half a million copies, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (1940)
  • The Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened in New York City (1959)
  • North Korea and the U.S. signed an agreement that requires North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program and agree to inspections (1994)



Also, on this day in 1854, Florence Nightingale, founder of the nursing profession, left for Turkey with 38 women she’d trained to tend British soldiers dying from unsanitary conditions in the Crimean War. As a noted statistician, she charted seasonal sources of patient mortality in the military field hospital she managed.(See her life story on wikipedia)


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