History has produced its share of great artists and great people— John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was both. As a performer, he left behind an incredible record of innovation and inspiration. As a composer, a broad repository of musical masterpieces, and as a man, a legion of friends, colleagues and compatriots who remember him with the same degree of love and esteem they reserve for his work.
The Afro-Latin Experience showcases Dizzy Gillespie’s love of world music, which he successfully fused with jazz during his entire career. His vast repertoire includes compositions that were inspired by his love of the African, Argentinian, Brazilian, Caribbean, Cuban, and Spanish music cultures. Dizzy’s fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz was ground breaking. The well-loved melodies of “Manteca” and “Tin Tin Deo" are an important part of the jazz vernacular. Dizzy also composed vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s smash afro-cuban hit “Soul Sauce”.
Dizzy Gillespie was also the first American musician to recognize the great Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim’s genius with his 1957 classic recording of Jobim’s “No More Blues” and his famous recording of “Desafinado” from the Dizzy on the Rivera album. His well known and collaborations with the great Argentinian pianist Lalo Schifrin (whom Dizzy discovered in Buenos Aries during a 1956 tour) produced many great compositions and arrangements.
The ensemble features Dizzy Gillespie’s longtime bassist, musical director John Lee, Dizzy’s former drummer Tommy Campbell, Freddie Hendrix on trumpet & flugelhorn, Sharel Cassity on Alto saxophone & flute, Brazilian pianist & vocalist Abelita Mateus, and Roger Squitero on congas, bongos, and percussion.
The Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Latin Experience has performed at major concert halls and music festivals in North America and major concert halls and jazz festivals around the world including Australia, Austria, Aruba, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Curacao, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.
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