Hoopla Music Review: Dizzy Gillespie ‘Jambo Caribe’ (1964)

You know how they always told you never to judge a book by its cover? Well, in this case, they’re wrong. Just look at that thing. Is it a child’s sugar-fueled scribblings, a Ralph Steadman/Hunter S. Thompson ‘Fantasia’ sequence, or Harry Belafonte’s worst experience on acid? It’s hella bizarre whatever it is, and it pretty much sums up the eclectic and eccentric music contained within.

Alternating between cool, catchy, Caribbean-influenced instrumentals like ‘Hello, Trinidad’ and ‘And Then She Stopped’ and the frenetic, infectious insanity of Dizzy’s vocals on songs like ‘Poor Joe’ and ‘Don’t Try To Keep Up With The Joneses’, this is one of the most exciting and unusual jazz/world albums you’re ever going to hear.
Future stars Kenny Barron (piano) and James Moody (flute) accompany throughout, but ‘Jambo Caribe’ is truly the personality and sound of just one man, bebop’s most famous extended cheeks, Mr John Birks ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie. It may be his experimental, unpredictable trumpet playing that has kept this album relevant with critics and jazzopiles over the years, but it’s his playful sense of humor and obvious affection for the calypso music of the West Indies that will keep you laughing, singing, and jumping around your house every time you play it.

Falmouth Public Library, West Falmouth and Woods Hole cardholders can stream the album FREE on Hoopla here. For information on how to get a Hoopla account, click here! (reviewed by Josh)

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