John Birks ('Dizzy') Gillespie, trumpeter, be-bop confederate of Charlie Parker, champion of Afro-Cuban rhythms in the American jazz mainstream, in Cuba to headline Havana's Fifth International Jazz Festival, is filmed at official receptions (including an audience with Castro), walkabouts, interviews, rehearsals, jam sessions and in performance. The result is an entertaining mixture of documentary, travelogue, concert and historical music lesson. The last is fascinating, illustrating the difference in the development of rhythm in the Caribbean and South America and in the US (slaves shipped to South America and the Caribbean were allowed to keep their percussive instruments - their common 'language' - and those sold to the US were not). The music is a unifying thread. He plays 'A Night in Tunisia', duets with fast and flashy Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, rehearses a big band, finales with 'Manteca'. In view of the current hipness of Cuban music, a timely film.
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