Sao Paulo Jazz Festival – 1978

Dizzy Gillespie


The great bop trumpeter gets funky

After decades of leading quintets and big bands, Dizzy Gillespie in 1973 started utilizing a pianoless quartet with guitar.

Rather than focus on bebop or Afro-Cuban jazz, both of which he co-founded and was still playing with all-star groups, Gillespie’s own band tended to emphasize his brand of funky jazz.

On this excerpt from the 1978 Sao Paulo Jazz Festival, Gillespie shows that his trumpet chops were still in prime form (hitting some impressive high notes), that he could sound quite modern in this setting, and that he could play as creatively over vamps and one-chord stretches as most artists half his age.

The fast funky performance also features some fiery guitar from Rodney Jones and strong accompaniment by electric bassist Benjamin Brown and drummer Mickey Roker.

-Scott Yanow

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