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2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of Dizzy Gillespie, a master entertainer and one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. This book celebrates the relationship and influence Dizzy had with Arturo and his family. Through amazing photographs and stories, this book tracks the remarkable story of how the two met in Cuba during a very restrictive period and the eventual role Dizzy would play in Arturo’s flight to freedom. It also recounts the modest start and parallels that exist between the two musicians as well as their career developments.
Throughout his career Dizzy Gillespie faced a huge challenge to achieve success as a black man born in the South with limited education. He endured the hardship of the Great Depression as well as the humiliation and restrictions of the deep-rooted racism and segregation of the time.
Decades later, Arturo Sandoval suffered his own bonds of tyranny when he was forbidden the freedom to perform the music he loved. While serving his three years of obligatory military service in Cuba, he was jailed for three months for listening to the “Voice of America” program hosted by Willis Conover on a short wave radio. Both Dizzy and Arturo were angered and demoralized by their individual circumstances, yet both found ways to persevere no matter the political or social consequences of the times.
One does not have to look far to realize the level of affection that quickly grew between Dizzy Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval. Their relationship was not only one of mentor-protégé, but also a father-son type of kinship. Dizzy never had a son until he met Arturo. In Arturo’s words, were it not for Dizzy “ maybe I would have ended up in jail, or worse, because nothing good could have happened to me if I stayed there.” One of Dizzy’s greatest achievements and contributions to music was not only the discovery, but the encouragement and promotion of Arturo Sandoval.
Arturo Sandoval's life was the subject of the film "For Love or Country"