Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval first met Dizzy Gillespie in Havana in 1977, when the American jazzman came to Cuba to play a concert. Sandoval showed him around the city, where the two men listened to the sounds of rumba music echoing through Havana’s black neighborhoods. That night, Sandoval managed to play his trumpet for Gillespie — and blew him away.
“I knew a bunch of his lines, his phrasing and things,” Sandoval says. “He was laughing and laughing because he was so surprised. He saw me as his driver, the guy who was showing him the city — and not only was I a musician, I was a trumpet player. I’d never told him in the whole day we spent together.”
It was the start of a friendship that lasted until Gillespie’s death in 1993.
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To read Guy Raz’s entire article and listen to the interview, go to NPR