Dizzy Gillespie is one of the handful of revolutionaries who burned the boats and set off into the new modernism in the 1940s. but is equally important for his simultaneous introduction of Afro-(’uban music into jazz. ()n the eve of Dizzy‘s Air France-sponsored United Nations All Star Orchestra concert in Edinburgh. NORMAN CHALMERS looks at the Cuban connection of the man with the
nce. when asked how jazz would
develop. Dizzy Gillespie‘s response was that ‘it probably will go back to where it all started from. a man beating a drum.‘ The trumpet maestro is most renowned for his contribution to the birth of bebop. but is also a fine conga player. an accomplished pianist. a lover of Latin rhythm and percussion. and an enthusiast of the big band format. Now. two score years later. bebop. rediscovered by a new. young audience. is the orthodoxy. and Dizzy is winging into Scotland with his United Nations All Star Orchestra. at lS-piece band that brilliantly shows off all the facets of his music in a dominant Latin setting.
His good natured clowning on stage masks one of the clearest thinkers in jazz— he is a mean chess player— and one ofthe great survivors. With Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. he defines the history ofjazz trumpet. With Charlie Parker. he is the personification of the bebop era. the new music that concerned itselfwith itself. created by musicians to whom an audience ‘ wasn‘t necessary. Their styles of dress and behaviour presaged the Beats. and set in motion the first stirrings ofthe radical cultural and social changes that were to polarise the nation two decades later.
But it is his pioneering
. incorporation. way back in I947. of Afro-Cuban musicians into mode rn jazz that has shaped so much of
contemporary popular music. Modern rock. and even disco music. is widely informed with a Latin rhythmic influence. and no-one now bats an eyelid at maracas. bongos. congas. timbales. claves or reco-reco. They might not know the names. but they certainly know the sound. And the sound. the complex shifting beat. comes from Africa. albeit by way of the Spanish Main.
There is a school of thought which
considerable population of Spanish
speakers. btit it was to the pre-(‘astro
American playground ol‘('uba that Dizzy turned for the intense and inspired conga player ( ‘hano Pozo,
whom he brought into his Big Band.
setting a trend for (‘uban and Latin big band music that was to last well into the 195lls.
Decades later. l)izzy described how the ('uban ‘. . . belonged to a religion that came directly from
Africa. I lis grandmother taught him
all those things. 'l‘hose chants we used to do were actually in the same groove. l have always been interested in Latin rhythms. like
‘Night In 'l‘unisia‘. livery drummer l
know playing 6 fs’ time is playing my lick. I took it off the conga and put it on the other drums and showed it to ('harlie Persip. Bttt ('hano Pozo
played things before he died that I‘m
only understanding now. There are so many things he did that I‘m just getting hip to now.‘
It is true that many of the religions
the (‘arribean from Africa make secret use ol‘specil'ic ritual rhythms. and there might perhaps be some
transplanted into Latin America and
through public performance of the secret rhythms of his West A frican-de rived Abaquwa sect.
[n a continuation of that rhythmic tradition. Dizzy brings a splendid section to Edinburgh. Ignacio Berroa handles the drum kit. and there are two percussionists. including the legendary Airto Moreira. a prime mover in jazz rock fusion. who contributed so much to Miles Davis. ('hick (‘orea and the early Weather Report. Brazilian virtuoso Airto is usually seen on stage with his wife. vocalist l-‘lora Purim. who sings and wordlessly' improvises over her
astonishing six octave range. and she too will be in the line up.
Add Dizzy's long term associate James Moody. a veteran of that ground-breaking late 1940‘s Big Band. on tenor and ﬂute; Slide Hampton and Steve Turre on trombones: Arturo Sandoval and (‘laudio Roditi on trumpets; Mario Rivera and Paquito d'Rivera on saxes: [id Cherry. guitar; John Lee. bass: and Danilo Perez on piano and you‘ve got one of the best bands ever to play in Scotland. As they used to say. be there . . . or be square.
Dizzy Gillespie '5' United Nation A ll—Smr Big Band. Usher Hall.
The future of the Dundee .la/z l‘cstiy al seemed in considerable dottbt after the demise of the Platform organisation last year. but new (‘hairman Alan Steadman and his team hay e succeeded in putting together an attractiy c programme. it on a rather less exalted plane than its more ambitious. btit financially disastrous. recent predecessors. Native musicians
I .lune. l’ollowedon consecutiy e nights by
Carol Kidd The colourful. i multi-national('irand linion ()rchcstra.
feature strongly . with i‘ionna Duncan inaugurating a new
l’estiy al y enuc at Sessions
on the 5 and (i of June (joined by .lanus/ (‘armcllo on the latter date). \yhilc the more familiar Rep ‘I'hcatre
('arol Kidd plus Swing '8‘).
and the .lack Sharpe Big Band with local hero .limmy I)euchar. before culminating with the
city 's pubs on Saturday afternoon. and a closing blues concert that night
withthe Johnny .‘ylars
concerts include The .lohtt
Rae Collective. in company with the (‘anadian bop outfit the
llugh l‘raser ()umtet on T
I GLASGOW BARROWLAND(041226 4679) Transvision Vamp. 21 June; The Damned. 30 June; Texas. 13Julszhe The. 26 Sept.
I GLASGOW SECC(041248 3000)The Cure.18July; Simple Minds. 8—9 August: Erasure. 18 January.
I EDINBURGH CALTON STUDIOS (031 557 6969) The House of Love. 16—18 June; Pere Ubu. 1 July.
I EDINBURGH MEADOWBANK STADIUM (0312254583)Simp|e Minds, 12 August.
I EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE (031557 2590)The Bee Gees. 17 June; Robert Cray Band. 9 July: Gloria Estefan. 2—3 Oct; Shirley Bassey. 7 Oct;Anderson. Bruiord. Wakeman & Howe. 21 Oct.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN‘S HALL(031 6682019) Throwing Muses. 26 June.
Blues Band at the Rep. ’l'hc l'iestiy al opens on 4 June with a screeningof Romu/ .IIu/mg/i! at the
10th Birthday Scratch
Carmina Burana. 24 June;
OH10th Birthday Fanfare
Concert: SCO/Bryden/Haydn Te Deum. 29 June; 0H10th Birthday Concert: SCO/MaxweII-Davies. 6 July.
I EDINBURGH PLAYHDUSE (031 557 2590) Scottish
. Opera/La Traviafa. 20. 24 June; Don Giovanni21.23
June: Street Scene. 22
I GLASGOW PAVILION
3 (041226 4679) The Fureys.
I EDINBURGH USHER HALL (031 228 1155) Dou Dou N'Diaye & The Master
Drummers ofBurundi. 16
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (031 668 2019)AIy Bain/Phil Cunningham/Dick
Gaughan. 22 June.
JAZZ & BLUES
FESTIVAL. 23 June—2 July.
meanw hile. will preface their (ilasgow Jazz Festival appearance with a commendable and ambitious tour of the Highlands and Islands. kicking off in lnverness on 3 June with the full Orchestra. and goingon to take their(‘abarct Band on a Iii-date tour to places like Scourie. Achiltibuie and Forss. (KM)
I GLASGOW CATHEDRAL (041227 5511)John Surman/Phoenix Choir Choral Premiere. 27 June.
I GLASGOW THEATRE
ROYAL (041 331 1234/3532
. 9000) George Shearing. 23 June; Cab Calloway.24 June; Carol Kidd/Humphrey
Lyttelton. 25 June; Stan Getz. 29 June; Jacques Loussier. 30 June; Ellington Orchestra.1 July; Orchestre
National de Jazz/Tommy
I GLASGOW TRAMWAY (041227 5511)John Surman Brass Project. 23
June; Abdullah Ibrahim, 25 ’ JunezAndySheppard
Piazzolla. 28 June; Michael
Brecker Duintet. 30 June.
I EDINBURGH QUEEN'S - HALL (031 668 2019) OH
10th Birthday Gala Jazz Night. 30 June.
I EDINBURGH HOPETOUN HOUSE (031 668 2019) Feshval Fireworks/Humphrey Lyttelton/Monty Sunshine, 26 Aug.
IEDINBUBGH QUEEN'S ‘ Ring 041 225 3262 Iorfree HALL(0316682019)OH manure,
sees the l-atin/(.‘arribean influence in the rootsofjazz itself. New Orleans as the melting pot certainly had a
truth in the explanation that (‘hano‘s murder in 19-18 in a Harlem cafe resulted from his desecration
33 The List 2 — 15 June 198‘)