Playlist: Carlos Henriquez on Dizzy Gillespie's Latin Side

Learn more about Carlos's upcoming tribute to Dizzy's!

News | Jan, 13th 2017

When bassist Carlos Henriquez explores Dizzy Gillespie's profound impact on Latin jazz this Jan. 27-28 in the Appel Room, he'll be bringing with him one very important artifact that shares some history with the legendary trumpeter. 

That artifact? It's Henriquez's bass, which was played by Bobby Rodriguez on Dizzy's classic Mantecarecording for Verve.

"It's got the same sound of the recording, so it’s kind of scary when I listen to playback of JLCO performances," Henriquez says. "It sounds just the same!"

Henriquez and the stellar musicians he's chosen to perform at "The Latin Side of Dizzy" in late January will also aim to create a sound similar to Gillespie's classic, Latin-tinged big band recordings. Similar, but not exactly the same: Henriquez is planning on doing some of his own tinkering and re-arranging.

Listen to a playlist featuring songs from The Latin Side of Dizzy:

Gillespie is most commonly celebrated for the influential role he played in bebop's origins. But he was also instrumental in Afro-Cuban jazz's development in the late 1940s, partnering with innovators like percussionist Chano Pozo to bring more Afro-Cuban rhythms (like the clave) and instruments (like Pozo's congas) into jazz.

To tackle the stylistic complexity of Dizzy's music, Henriquez has assembled a dynamic group consisting of Cuban percussionist and vocalist Pedrito Martínez, trumpeters Terell Stafford and Mike Rodriguez, saxophonist Melissa Aldana, trombonist Marshall Gilkes, pianists Robert Rodriguez and Larry Willis, and drummer Obed Calvaire. Henriquez, who recalls watching Gillespie perform in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall as a teenager, plans on utilizing "all the rhythms of Cuba." 

Even the non-Latin Dizzy tunes featured in this set will undergo a rhythmic facelift. "I’m Latinizing them and taking them to a modern-jazz place," Henriquez says. Arrangements of "Groovin' High" and "Be-Bop" will make use of bomba(a traditional Puerto Rican musical style) and timba(a popular Cuban style) rhythms, and Henriquez's take on "Con Alma" will benefit from a 12-bar introduction inspired by a song from famed Cuban bassist Cachao.

Henriquez will also bust out a number of basses. He'll play the aforementioned double bass, which was built in the late 1800s, but he's also bringing his electric bass as well as his more rarely seen Ampeg Baby Bass, a make that was played by John Lee when he performed with Dizzy. 

For Henriquez, the show is about paying homage not only to Dizzy but to his own musical heritage. "I remember playing Dizzy’s music since I was in high school, playing the bassline to 'A Night in Tunisia,'" Henriquez says. "All of my mentors were Latin jazz musicians who played with him, like Mario Bauzá, Cal Tjader, and all of these guys were very influenced by Dizzy."

Pick up tickets forThe Latin Side of Dizzytoday, and check out the rest of theDizzy Gillespie Festival's shows!

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