Tanga – 1990

Dizzy Gillespie and the United Nation Orchestra


A torrid version of a Mario Bauza classic

Dizzy Gillespie always loved Afro-Cuban jazz and was one of the early pioneers in the fusion of bop and straight ahead jazz with Cuban rhythms.

During his last period (1989-91), Gillespie led the United Nation Orchestra, an all-star big band that mixed together top jazz artists from several countries with a strong emphasis on Latin America.

“Tanga,” which is considered the first Afro-Cuban composition, was written by Mario Bauza for Machito’s orchestra in the early 1940s.

This version from around 1990 has the United Nation Orchestra performing the early piece with Flora Purim singing the melody and scatting in her own original style.

Purim is followed by a Gillespie solo, a torrid tradeoff by tenor-saxophonist Mario Rivera, altoist Paquito D’ Rivera, and James Moody on tenor, and heated solos from drummer Ignacio Berroa, percussionist Airto Moreira and Giovanni Hidalgo on congas.

-Scott Yanow

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