It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play. -- Dizzie Gillespie

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"Chico & Rita" - 2011

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A seemingly ordinary, but tormented love story between a pianist and a singer, takes on a transcendent grandeur and sublimity through the eyes of Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba, and through the animated drawings of graphic artist Javier Mariscal.

Inspired by one of the greatest Cuban musicians ever, the legendary Bebo Valdes, Chico & Rita is actually dedicated to him, his amazing life and his achievements. From Cuba to the United States, the film present, through the love story of a pianist and a singer, the fusion of Cuban music and jazz in the 50s. Thanks to the magic of cinema, we meet in the film Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole and Thelonious Monk.

The film has an original soundtrack by Cuban pianist, bandleader and composer Bebo Valdés. It features music by Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie and Freddy Cole. According to Tono Errando, "it was the moment when new musicians came along like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie with a new kind of music, that is not for dancing, full of notes, played really fast, a music that now we call jazz. Then the Cuban musicians arrived. Dizzy Gillespie has said many times in interviews, there was a moment for him that was very important, it was the moment he first played with Chano Pozo. Pozo was the first percussionist that played in a jazz band." Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger of the film Bebo Valdés was living in obscurity in Stockholm, when Trueba reintroduced his playing to an international audience with his film Calle 54, and went on to produce the Grammy-winning Lagrimas Negras album, teaming Valdes with flamenco singer Diego 'el Cigala'. Trueba was also able to persuade the real-life flamenco star Estrella Morente, who has been performing since the age of seven, to participate in the film. Musicians featured in the film include Chucho Valdés, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Chano Pozo, Tito Puente, Ben Webster, and Thelonious Monk.


"One of the best films ever made about jazz, I can’t think of any other that is truer and more moving." Gary Giddins / Film Comment


"Absolutely unique"Chris Sullivan / Metropoli


"This is a classical Hollywood film and truly a work of art" Shane McNeil / Toronto Film Scene


"Impeccable work of art" David Jenkins / Time Out


"The best jazz soundtrack in decades" Chris Sullivan / Metropoli


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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 16:08

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