Dizzy Gillespie: Afro (1954)


Track list:

01. Manteca Theme
02. Contraste
03. Jungla
04. Rhumba Finale
05. A Night in Tunisia
06. Con Alma
07. Caravan


Dizzy Gillespie – trumpet, vocals
with #1-4:
Trumpets: Jimmy Nottingham, Ernie Royal, Quincy Jones
Trombones: J.J. Johnson, George Matthews, Leon Comegys
Alto saxophones: George Dorsey, Hilton Jefferson –
Tenor saxophones: Hank Mobley, Lucky Thompson (soloist)
Baritone saxophone: Danny Bank
Piano: Wade Legge
Bass: Lou Hackney (jazz), Robert Rodriguez (Afro)
Drums: Charlie Persip (jazz)
Bongos: Jose Mangual
Timpani: Ubaldo Nieto
Congas: Ramon Santamaria, Candido Camero
arranger: Chico O’Farrill

Dizzy Gillespie – trumpet
Flute: Gilbert Valdez
Piano: Alejandro Hernandez
Conga: Rafael Miranda
Bass – Robert Rodriguez
Bongos: Jose Mangual
Timpani: Ubaldo Nieto
Conga: Candido Camero

Recorded: New York City; May 24 and June 3, 1954
Released: 1954
Label: Norgran
MGN 1003

Producer: Norman Grantz
Recording Engineer:

Liner Notes: Norman Grantz



Pairing Dizzy Gillespie with Cuban arranger/composer Chico O’Farrill produced a stunning session which originally made up the first half of a Norgran LP.

O’Farrill conducts an expanded orchestra which combines a jazz band with a Latin rhythm section; among the participants in the four-part “Manteca Suite” are trumpeters Quincy Jones and Ernie Royal, trombonist J.J. Johnson, tenor saxophonists Hank Mobley and Lucky Thompson, and conga player Mongo Santamaria.

“Manteca,” written during the previous decade, serves as an exciting opening movement, while the next two segments build upon this famous theme, though they are jointly credited to O’Farrill as well.

“Rhumba-Finale” is straight-ahead jazz with some delicious solo work by Gillespie.

A later small-group session features the trumpeter with an all-Latin rhythm section and flutist Gilberto Valdes, who is heard on “A Night in Tunisia” and “Caravan.”

Both of the Latin versions of these pieces are far more interesting than “Con Alma,” as the excessive percussion and dull piano accompaniment add little to this normally captivating theme. […]
~Ken Dryden[]