September 23, 2021- Today's Topic: Dizzy Gillespie
The real birth of Afro-Cuban Jazz happened in 1947 when Dizzy Gillespie brought Chano Pozo into his big band. Dizzy had become fascinated with Cuban rhythms when he worked with Mario Bauza in Cab Calloway’s band in the late thirties.
By 1947, modern jazz was well-established and Dizzy was it’s most prominent figure. At the time he was leading his own big band and decided to incorporate Cuban rhythm into the
orchestra. Bauza introduced him to Chano Pozo who had recently arrived in New York from his native Cuba. Chano had become famous in his birthplace of Havana as a dancer and master percussionist and was the most sought after Rumbero.
The addition of Chano Pozo’s conga drum to Dizzy’s rhythm section created the birth of Afro-Cuban Jazz and what would become known as Cu-Bop. He debuted at Dizzy’s high profile Carnegie Hall concert on September 29, 1947 and was featured on George Russell’s Cubana Be-Cubana Bop. He also collaborated with Dizzy on several of the early Cubop pieces including Tin Tin Deo and Manteca.
Their collaboration was short-lived though as Pozo was shot and killed in a bar in Harlem in December of 1948.
In the meantime Cu-Bop was established and others started to experiment with the style. Dizzy continued his fascination with Cuban music which he explored throughout his entire
During his final years he recorded four albums as a leader which cemented his legacy as one of the true giants of latin jazz.