A Night in Havana: Dizzy Gillespie in Cuba
The indisputable founding father of "bebop," Dizzy Gillespie remains one of the most recognizable and popular figures in jazz history. During his heyday in the 1940s, Dizzy was one of the first American jazz musicians to incorporate the electrifying sound of Afro-Cuban rhythms into a big-band setting. Forty years later, the legendary jazz trumpeter was invited to Cuba, the wellspring of his inspiration, to headline the Fifth International Jazz Festival in Havana. The journey, as documented in this star-studded film, was a spiritual and triumphal homecoming for the musical genius.
Featuring outstanding performances with then-rising stars trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, among other celebrated Cuban musicians, director John Holland expertly offers a carefully fleshed-out portrait of a musician "whose robust musical ebullience is matched by an earthly sense of humor" (The New York Times). Among the film's performances, Dizzy delivers speed-of-light bop licks on his Afro-Latin and calypso tinged tunes "A Night in Tunisia" and "Manteca," and is candidly captured as he plays, scats, dances, and jokes, with a joy and exuberance that light up the stage.
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