Jazz between Two Cultures, American and Turkish

Posted March 12th, 2011 at 12:00 am (UTC+0)
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Emre Kartari

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Emre Kartari is a young jazz musician with a mission. He wants to musically bridge two cultures.  The 35-year-old drummer feels there’s a shortage of information on Jazz in Turkey. He sought and got help from his music teachers in New York and Virginia, in the United States, to start teaching jazz at a Turkish university.

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With the support of the American Embassy in Ankara and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Kartari invited his former jazz teachers to Turkey to join him in a special performance.  He says it sounded like a dream.

The jazz group included an all star cast featuring: Saxophonist Skip Gailes, Rex Richardson on trumpet, pianist Bob Hallahan, guitarist Adam Larrabee, bassist Mike Richmond, percussionist Tim Collins, and drummer Howard Curtis.

Teacher, and former director of the jazz studies at VCU, Doug Richards, arranged the Turkish folk song “Ben seni sevdigimi dunyalara bildirdim” for the Hacettepe Ankara State Conservatory Orchestra, and Kanun soloist Ahmet Baran.

Kartari, who released three personal albums and working on a fourth CD, is adding orient-influenced beats and musical styles to jazz music, thus bridging the gap between the American and Turkish cultures.

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America
Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC –
Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Birdland in the Big Apple, New York

Posted March 3rd, 2011 at 8:11 pm (UTC+0)
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Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Anytime I hear the word “Birdland,” I get nostalgic. It reminds me of the good old days when I used to take strolls from midtown Manhattan to the west side of Broadway, watching the skyscrapers in the “Big Apple” — New York City. The year was 1996.  At the time, fabulous “Birdland” — a commercially-successful fusion song by the Weather Report, had become a jazz standard. It  was blaring as I passed by Manhattan’s re-born “Birdland Jazz Club”, “The Jazz corner of the world” as it was labeled by jazz legend Charlie Parker.

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Saxophonist Charlie Parker, nicknamed “Bird” inspired Morris & Irving Levy to open a club named “Birdland” in New York City, 62 years ago.

Birdland Jazz Club originally opened its doors in the winter of 1949. Within five years, it had attracted nearly 1.5 million people, each paying $1.50 admission to sample the one-of-a-kind atmosphere and enjoy live gigs. Performers like Charlie Parker and Count Basie and his big band played from 9:00 PM until dawn. But the club’s fortunes started to decline in the 1960s when Rock & Roll music started attracting many Birdland fans. Sadly, the club closed its doors in 1965.

Among the many other jazz greats who performed live at Birdland, we find: Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Lester Young, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Stan Getz and others.

Also at Birdland, Count Basie and his smokin’ big band recorded George Shearing‘s “Lullaby of Birdland” live. Shearing, the British pianist who overcame blindness to become a worldwide jazz star, died at 91 two weeks ago.

More on Birdland here with Russ Davis:

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For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America
Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Herbie Hancock on Egypt Revolution & Mideast Democracy

Posted February 23rd, 2011 at 7:54 pm (UTC+0)
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Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Like Egyptians living abroad, American jazz pianist Herbie Hancock was “glued” to television, watching live coverage of Tahrir Square protests demanding the removal of the regime in Egypt.  The world peace advocate praised the peaceful, anti-social injustice protests in Egypt as he attended the Grammy ceremony on February 13; two days after President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign.


“My sights were glued to the TV watching everything that was happening in Egypt,” Hancock told CBS television. “And it looks like an awful lot of Egyptians are really happy now that Mubarak has stepped down.”

Hancock’s backstage comments on the 18-day Egyptian revolution (Revolt on the Nile) against years of rampant government corruption made Egyptian newspaper headlines.

He said this is going to help shore up a better attitude about democracy in the Middle East.

“I think it is great that people are using peaceful means” for getting a “Peaceful government,” he told the Hollywood Today news magazine. “It’s good for the Middle East and good for the world.”

Other celebrities said they were impressed by the restraint exhibited by the citizens of Egypt who gathered in downtown Cairo.

“It sounds like a tender democracy burgeoning there. Um, best of luck. And it’s–I thought how they handled themselves in the last couple of days was pretty decent,” Singer-songwriter Jewel told CBS.  “I don’t–, I’m sure the whole story isn’t out yet. But I was very proud of the citizens, and it was very inspiring to watch.”

Hancock’s all-star remake of British singer John Lennon’s “Imagine” won a Grammy, beating megahits by superstars Lady Gaga and Beyonce for “Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals.”

This is Hancock’s second Grammy, and it’s for “A Change Is Gonna Come,” another track from The Imagine Project, the Best Improvised Jazz Solo winner.

The music legend spoke recently about “The Imagine Project” with VOA’s Russ Davis:

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America & MoJa Radio
Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Jazz, From Iran to Costa Rica

Posted February 18th, 2011 at 3:37 pm (UTC+0)
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Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Music is not just a money-making business. It is a culture that brings back memories of past events.  For example, every time Iran makes news headlines, my mind plays “Heat of the Sun” a beautiful song by famed Iranian jazz guitarist Ardeshir Farah and his Costa Rican music partner Jorge Strunz.

I listened to Heat of the Sun for the first time while reading “The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation” by American writers Sandra Mackey and Scott Harrop . The book covers a period in the history of the Iranian people, from the “glory days” of Persia to the overthrow of Mohammed Riza Shah and the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. That year, Strunz & Farah met and started performing together.

Heat of the Sun”, from their 1995 album with the same title, was quite popular – in fact, it remained in the top 10 chart of World Music for four months. The music is easily recognized, thanks to Strunz and Farah’s impressive fusion of jazz with flamenco, Latin, and Middle Eastern influences.

The Los Angeles-based duo has brought the cultural riches of Iran and Costa Rica together to pioneer a new direction in acoustic guitar music.  Over a 30-year span, they have sold more than a million records and have profoundly influenced acoustic guitarists worldwide.

On the musicians’ website, you’ll find a review the Los Angeles Times newspaper published, which says “Both men match passion with speed, musical complexity and a steely precision rarely heard in popular music.”

Strunz and Farah  have released a number of well-received CDs, including “Américas,” which was nominated for a Grammy in the Best World Music Album Of The Year category in 1993. Billboard magazine also named albums, “Primal Magic” and “Américas,” World Music Albums of the Year.

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America show.

Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Spalding Wins, Makes Music History

Posted February 15th, 2011 at 7:18 pm (UTC+0)
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Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC –  On Sunday night, Esperanza Spalding made history at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards, becoming the first-ever jazz artist to win “Best New Artist” of the year.

The 26-year-old singer upset the popular teen heart throb Justin Bieber, along with rapper Drake, Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine.

“I take this honor to heart so sincerely and I’ll do my damndest to make a whole lot of great music for all of you,” she said after receiving the prestigious award. “It’s such a blessing and an honor. God bless.”

This isn’t the first time Esperanza Spalding has made headlines.  President Barack Obama invited her to the White House, where she gave a live performance in 2009.

While her Grammy has inspired her fans, it also provoked supporters of Justin Bieber – “Beliebers” as they are known – to hack into her Wikipedia page and write in unpleasant remarks about her victory. One read, Esperanza won “even though no one has heard of her.”

Spalding released three albums since 2006. The latest, Chamber Music Society,  was released last year. Esperanza Spalding has won the Grammy award for “Best New Artist”

Sunday night, upsetting popular teen heartthrob Justin Bieber in the

53rd annual Grammy ceremony Sunday night. She also beat out rapper

Drake, Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine.

The 26-year-old bassist-singer has made music history as the first jazz

aretist ever to win the Grammy “Best New Artist” of the year.

“I take this honor to heart so sincerely and I’ll do my damndest to make

a whole lot of great music for all of you,” she reacted. “It’s such a

blessing and an honor. God bless.”

Esperanza Spalding made headlines before, when she performed for

President Barack Obama at the White House.

She released three albums since 2006. The latest, Chamber Music Society,  was released last year.

Beliebers, as Justin Bieber’s are known, hacked into her Wikipedia page after the upset win, making changes such as saying she won, “even though no one has heard of her.”

For more, listen to Jazz America on VOA

Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Grammy & Esperanza Spalding

Posted February 13th, 2011 at 2:18 am (UTC+0)
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Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – The Grammy Awards winners will be announced on Sunday.  The nominations had some surprises for most of us in the jazz world. Perhaps the top surprise was the nomination of young jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, not in any jazz category — but for Best New Artist.

Spalding, who represents one of the most exciting voices in jazz and draws upon many genres in her music, definitely faces tough competition from four other nominees, including teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, Drake, Mumford & Sons and Florence & the Machine.

A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, multi-instrumentalist Spalding sings, plays the bass and writes her own music.   She says her music is influenced by the sounds of funk, soul, samba and blues. Spalding has performed all over the world.

The Grammy nominee says she has been influenced by jazz bassists Ron Carter and Dave Holland. Spalding, who sings in English, Spanish and Portuguese, has also noted her preference for the music of Brazil, a factor that has come across in her recordings.  The Oregon native also cites the famed saxophone player Wayne Shorter, and singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento, as her [music] heroes.

Music critics say 26-year-old Esperanza Spalding is one of the most interesting and gifted examples of today’s jazz music.

In the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony on December 10, 2009, Spalding performed in Oslo City hall in honor of Nobel Laureate President Barack Obama.

Let’s us know if you thought she would be a Grammy winner!

Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Memory Lane: Brubeck’s Take Five

Posted February 9th, 2011 at 8:23 pm (UTC+0)
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Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – I hosted a jazz show on VOA for 10 years until mid-2001. During that time, I had so many requests from listeners in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Iraq to play “Take Five” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.  Apparently, Brubeck’s music has international appeal!  I recall hearing the song in the soundtrack of some classic Egyptian movies from the 1950s.

“Take Five” was first released in 1959 and became the best selling jazz single of all time. It is now included in a new two-disc collection of other familiar classics such as the “Blue Rondo a la Turk”, inspired during a Brubeck tour in Turkey in 1958.  At the time, Brubeck was America’s jazz ambassador, named by the U.S. State Department. The legendary pianist and his Quartet also toured Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. Brubeck also performed in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia.

I think Brubeck was always best, when paired with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond (who wrote “Take Five”), especially when they were improvising (as here) or (here), and when drummer Joe Morello added his personal improvisation, it drew applause.

Brubeck’s new double album, “Legacy of a Legend” features influential pieces in jazz history recorded between 1954 and 1970.  It includes vocal collaborations with jazz legends like Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Rushing and Carmen McRae.

Columbia Records released the album on Dave Brubeck’s 90th birthday.  He was born December 6, 1920 and he still plays!  A few days after celebrating his birthday, Brubeck performed in the State of Ohio with the Cleveland Orchestra. He was greeted with a standing ovation during an emotionally-charged performance.

For more information on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America show.

Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Egypt, the Hieroglyphics Ensemble

Posted February 3rd, 2011 at 4:05 pm (UTC+0)
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Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Music is a language understood by almost all the peoples of the world. Jazz music, in particular, was forged by civil rights, social struggle and aspirations for a better and peaceful life. When I interviewed American Saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum in 1992, he told me he wanted to drop a “music bomb” to stop wars and bring peace to the world.

Apfelbaum, who formed the Hieroglyphics Ensemble jazz group, has been using music for years as a way to spread peace and harmony among the peoples of the world.  He mixes world beat, big band and genuinely attractive global jazz-fusion into reggae segues.  The music plays with passion.

“I’ve never come up with a name for the kind of music I do, although I can tell you how it came into being.” he says on his Website.  Apfelbaum talked to me about “The Hieroglyphics Ensemble” and the reference to ancient Egypt, and the Egyptian “Ankh“, symbol of eternal life and peace. (mp3)

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Many people use music as a tool to voice discontent with the way they are governed.  Here in the United States, the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. chanted for social change. His motto “We shall overcome” was a kind of protest song associated with the movement for civil rights.

Music & Revolt on the Nile:

During the current protests in Egypt, dubbed by some as “Revolt on the Nile” or “The Lotus Revolution“, a tune familiar to all Egyptians has become one of the driving forces for protesters gathered in Tahrir or “Liberation” Square in downtown Cairo. The song is meant to convey that they are fed up with deteriorating social life and runaway corruption, and demand “the removal of the regime.”

Aljazeera Arabic TV was quick to use a clip from the song by the Diva of Arabic music, Umm Kulthoum, with graphics of the protesters being surpressed by police in the backdrop. The clip aired during news breaks.  Perhaps knowing that the Egyptian culture produced this music to criticize social injustice and corruption with candor, sadness, and sometimes humor, motivated Aljazeera to choose this particular clip.  The clip is from a famous song called “Egypt Speaks about Herself” or in Arabic Misr Tatahaddath Ann Nafsiha” by the renowned 20 century Egyptian poet Hafez Ibrahim, ( also known as the Nile’s Poet.) The refrain says: “If God ordains my dearth, you will never see the East [Arab World] able to raise its head [again].” It’s a reference to Egypt’s leadership in the Arab World and its strategic importance to the world in general.

The singer, Umm Kulthoum, or Kawkab Al-Sharq (Planet of the East), was profiled by renowned Egyptian actor Omar Sharif. To get an idea how Egyptians and Arabs revered Umm Kulthoum, watch what they did for her funeral procession in 1975.

Bloggers offer the clip and the song in full for free download or you can link to it . You can also find additional songs used by the protesters in Tahrir Square or online and written by famed dissenting, pro-democracy poets and singers, like Ahmed Foaud Nigem and Imam Eissa’s Misr Yumma Ya Baheyya or “Pretty Egypt.” Their nationalistic songs, similar to old African jazz, are sung in various Egyptian cities by young protesters who are eager for change, Barak Obama-style.

Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Imagine in Jazz

Posted January 31st, 2011 at 8:14 pm (UTC+0)
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Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Herbie Hancock is one of my favorite nominees in the jazz category, for upcoming Grammy Awards on February 13.  The American pianist, bandleader and composer’s new album is called “Imagine” and is linked to his unprecedented international recording and film project called the Imagine Project. It was largely self-financed.

What I love about Imagine is that it is unique and features an amazing array of music superstars from every region of the planet, including India Arie, Jeff Beck, Pink, Seal, Omou Sangare and others. The project bears the same name as the famous Beatles song “Imagine” – penned by the late John Lennon.  He was killed outside his New York apartment in 1980.

Hancock tells VOA he believes that “one of the main points of life is try to make everything work no matter what comes your way, try to figure out how to make it work. To make your life work means ultimately doing it moment to moment … and not make it work in the best way, not just for yourself but for the world you live in.”

Herbie Hancock became the second jazz musician of all time to win the Best Album of the Year prize in 2008, at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. He won the award for his album, “River: the Joni Letters”, a tribute to Canadian musician and songwriter Joni Mitchell. She is a longtime associate and friend of Hancock.

When “River: The Joni Letters” was nominated for Album of the Year, Hancock’s first reaction was disbelief.  “I was shocked,” he says, “but jazz is out there. It’s alive and manifests itself in a lot of different ways.”

The 53rd Annual Grammy Award winners will be announced on February 13, 2011. Here’s a full list of the Grammy nominees.

For more information on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America show.

Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

A Night in Tunisia

Posted January 25th, 2011 at 4:57 pm (UTC+0)
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Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – All this talk about Tunisia in the news triggered a long-forgotten memory about my favorite jazz song and my interview with the composer…

I met Dizzy “John Birks” Gillespie when he visited Cairo in 1987 to perform at the grand Opera House on Egypt’s Nile River. He was tired from the 23-hour flight from the U.S. — but despite his weariness, he was gracious enough to talk to me.

Gillespie, who died in 1993, was an instrumentalist, a composer, arranger, improviser, singer, bandleader and music innovator.

During the interview, he relaxed, holding his trumpet close to his chest.  I took notes.  Then, he dozed off.  (I quietly chuckled, but didn’t take offense. His manager had told me Gillespie only squeezed in a nap during the long flight to Egypt.) The jazz great only realized he had fallen asleep when I began repeating my questions about his popular song, “A Night in Tunisia” — one of my personal favorites.

“I apologize. I’m so tired from the long travel,” he explained. “I wrote it before ever visiting Tunisia. I traveled there musically.”

When Gillespie composed “A Night in Tunisia” in 1942, he was just an ordinary player with the Earl Hines Band. It never crossed his mind that 60 years later, the song would be considered a jazz masterpiece.  In Fact, the Recording Academy has added “A Night in Tunisia” to the Grammy Hall of Fame.

A Night in Tunisia” with its trademark blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms and oriental flow was considered inspirational by many, and became one of the signature pieces of his “be-bop” jazz revolution in 1940s.

The song later generated interest for American jazz in North Africa and the Middle East.

Author Norman C. Weinstein so loved “A Night in Tunisia” that he wrote a book about the images of Africa.  In “A Night in Tunisia: Imaginings of Africa in Jazz” (you can read excerpts here), Weinstein remembers how he fell in love with jazz many years ago, after listening repeatedly to Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia.”

During his musical career, Gillespie performed “A Night in Tunisia” all over the world; the last time was in 1989, at the Royal Festival Hall in London.  Arturo Sandoval was on trumpet and Sayyd Abdul al-Khabbyr played the Bari sax.

In 1987 my article on Gillespie and “A Night in Tunisia” was carried by almost all the German newspapers and the English-language newspapers in some Arab countries.  It was even carried by the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post news services.

A Night in Tunisia” is a fun melody to play. (You can download the music notes here.)

For more information on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America.

Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

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About Jazz Beat

Diaa BekheetCairo native Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows for the former Arabic Service such as Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

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