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National Portrait Gallery Celebrates Dizzy Gillespie With Herman Leonard Photograph

October 26, 2017

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The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery honors the life and legacy of jazz trumpeter, composer and band leader Dizzy Gillespie on the centennial of his birth. A black-and-white photograph of Gillespie by Herman Leonard will be on view from Oct. 26 to Nov. 26 in the museum’s “Celebrate” space in the first-floor north gallery. Media are invited for an open house to view and photograph the portrait Thursday, Oct. 26, at 11:30 a.m.

Gillespie first rose to fame in the 1940s and maintained an influential presence in the music scene for five decades. At the age of 21, he joined Cab Calloway’s legendary big band and contributed solos to numerous recordings. Along with Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and other young musicians, Gillespie spearheaded freewheeling jazz compositions that spawned the new, energetic form of jazz known as bebop. He helped introduce Afro-Cuban jazz to worldwide audiences and was considered one of the most enthusiastic ambassadors for modern jazz.

An image of his portrait is available for press at; it can also be photographed or filmed in the museum. For access, contact Marielba Alvarez at

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Connect with the museum at its website (, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the museum’s blog.

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Media only 
Marielba Alvarez
(202) 633-2585

© Herman Leonard Photography, LLC

Dizzy Gillespie with trumpet
Related photos: 

Dizzy Gillespie

Black and white photo of DIzzy Gillespie

© Herman Leonard Photography, LLC

Dizzy Gillespie by Herman Leonard, selenium-toned gelatin silver print, 1948 (printed 1998). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © Herman Leonard Photography, LLC.