Dizzy Gillespie: Manteca (1947 version)

Dizzy Gillepsie, photo by Herb Snitzer

The “Latin tinge” in jazz dates back at least to Jelly Roll Morton, who claimed it was the “right seasoning” for the music. But Gillespie’s collaboration with Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo on the stage of Carnegie Hall in September 1947 would have jolted Morton off his piano stool. Pozo would be dead before the end of 1948 – killed in a fight over a bag of marijuana – but he left behind a handful of classic recordings before his passing. None is more spectacular than “Manteca,” built on a relentless vamp married to a stately swing bridge. Gillespie plays with unbridled passion; indeed the whole band seems pushed into overdrive by Pozo’s presence. Not just the ‘right seasoning’ here – rather a total immersion in the fiery currents of Afro-Cuban music. Sixty years later, you can still feel the heat.

October 26, 2007 · 2 comments


Dizzy Gillespie: Manteca (live 1948)

                Dizzy Gillespie at Birdland, photo by Marcel Fleiss

Often regarded as the quintessential representation of Latin jazz, “Manteca” was innovative among contemporary compositions for the heightened level of synthesis between Afro-Cuban music and American jazz. Introduced to Afro-Cuban music by trumpeter/composer Mario Bauza, Dizzy Gillespie sought to explore the music with his big band, adding the Cuban conguero Chano Pozo in September 1947. Until his untimely and mythic demise just over a year later, Chano Pozo made an indelible mark on both the jazz and Latin American music worlds. This track contrasts sections of more percussion-driven, rhythmically complex Afro-Cuban passages with passages that are more akin to the melodic and harmonic conventions of American jazz.

October 24, 2007 · 0 comments


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