Dizzy Gillespie: Bahiana (1975)


Track list:

A1 01. Carnival
A2 02. Samba

B1 03. Barcelona
B2 04. In the Land of the Living Dead

C1 05. Behind the Moonbeam
C2 06. The Truth
C3 07. Pele

D1 08. Olinga


Dizzy Gillespie – trumpet
Roger Glenn – flute, bass-flute, vibes
Al Gafa, Michael Howell – guitar
Earl May – bass
Mickey Roker – drums
Paulinho Da Costa – percussion

Released: 1976
Label: Pablo – 625 708 (US), 626 708 (UK) [2xLP]
CD 625708-2 [1996, CD, re-issue, re-mastered]

Recorded: T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood, CA; November 19 & 20, 1975
Recording and Mixing engineer: Angel Balestier

Producer: Norman Granz
Recording and mixing supervision: Eric Miller

Photography: Phil Stern

Re-mastering (1996): Phil De Lancie (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley)
notes (1996): ”   Because of maximum playing time considerations, we have edited “Olinga” from its original 20:00 length rather than delete any tracks from the original double-album release.   ”
The 1996 CD re-issue version of “Olinga” is 11:25


One of the rare jazz two-record sets that’s actually a worthwhile expenditure of vinyl and time, 1975’s Bahiana is one of Dizzy Gillespie’s finest albums of the decade.

In the ’40s, Gillespie had been one of the first U.S. bandleaders to take an active interest in Latin jazz, but his interest in the music had been intermittent in the intervening decades; Bahiana (named for the Brazilian state of Bahia) was his first all-Brazilian album in over a decade.

It’s a goodie, though.

By the mid-’70s, interest in the original wave of bossa nova had largely died out, replaced on the one side by the tropicalia movement and on the other by the fusiony disco-pop of Airto Moreira and Deodato.

Bahiana’s richly expansive tunes — not one under seven and a half minutes, and even the three ten-plus minute entries deserving every second — are built on pure carnival rhythms, like the percolating, self-explanatory “Samba.”

Guitarist Alexander Gafa contributes half of the eight tunes, but the highlights are Gillespie’s own festive “Carnival” and the hypnotic “Olinga,” which sounds like Antonio Carlos Jobim sitting in on rehearsals for Kind of Blue.

Those wanting to explore Dizzy Gillespie’s Latin side should start here.
~Stewart Mason[allmusic]