Sabu with Dizzy Gillespie

These tracks were recorded Dec. 29, 1948, shortly after Sabu replaced the recently gunned-down Chano Pozo [Gonzales] in Dizzy Gillespie's last big band. Sabu provides the vocal on Pozo's signature hit, "Guarachi Guaro." Years later the tune was revived once again as "Soul Sauce" by Cal Tjader.


Dizzy Gillespie
Dave Burns
Willie Cook
Elmon Wright
Andy Duryea
Sam Hurt
Jesse Turrant
John Brown
Ernie Henry
Joe Gayles
Budd Johnson
Cecil Payne
James Forman
Al McKibbon
Teddy Stewart
Joe Harris
Sabu Martinez

Sabu tracks:

Duff Capers (Linton Garner) 4:13
Lover Come Back to Me (Hammerstein-Romberg) - 3:26
I'm Be Boppin' Too (Lorraine Gillespie) - 2:15
I'm Be Boppin' Too (Lorraine Gillespie) - 2:21
Guarachi Guaro (Dizzy Gillespie-Chano Pozo) - 3:08

This session is on several records, including:

Dizzy Gillespie: 16 Rare Performances; RCA Vintage Series LPV; 1966
Dizzy Gillespie Vol. 1/2 (1946-1949); RCA PM-42-408; 1979 (France)

An early LP with most of these tracks (Sabu on at least one, earlier versions with Chano Pozo):

Dizzy Gillespie: Dizzier & Dizzier; RCA Victor LJM-1009; c.1955

"Guarachi Guaro" also appears on:

When Be-Bop Met the Big Band; RCA 741095; 1974
"Diz"; RCA Vintage Series; Pickwick Camden Quintessence Jazz Series QJ-25071; 1978

Sabu plays bongos. Leonard Feather notes that "Guarachi Guaro" is "a Gillespie composition arranged by Gerald Wilson. This reminder of Dizzy's pioneer role in the Afro-Cuban fusion has a call-and-response passage involving Sabu Martinez and the band." (It's also a very much a reminder of "Manteca.")

Sabu with J.J. Johnson

The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson Vols. 1 & 2; Blue Note BLP-1505 and -1506; 1960/1954

Sabu tracks recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, Sept. 24, 1954.

Personnel on Sabu tracks:

Jay Jay Johnson, trombone
Wynton Kelly, piano
Charlie Mingus, bass
Kenny Clarke, drums
Sabu Martinez, congas

Sabu tracks (in order of recording):

Old Devil Moon (Lane-Harburg) - 3:49
Jay (Johnson) - 3:38
Time After Time (Styne-Cahn) - 4:04
Too Marvelous for Words (Mercer-Whiting) - 3:34
It's You or No One (Styne-Cahn) - 4:04
Coffee Pot (Johnson) - 4:07

Note: All Sabu tracks except "Time After Time" are on one volume of the LPs. All of the Sabu tracks are collected on one CD reissue (Volume 2), however.

Sabu with Louis Bellson

Louis Bellson: The Driving Louis Bellson; Norgran MGN-1020; 1955

Sabu plays on one track, presumably "Mambo a la Louis Bellson."

Sabu with Tony Bennett

The Beat of My Heart; Columbia CL-1079; 1958

Personnel on Sabu tracks:

Tony Bennett
Sabu Martinez
Billy Exiner
Herbie Mann
Robert Jasper
William Slapin
Vincent Vittorio
Spencer Sinatra

Also on the album are Art Blakey, Chico Hamilton, Kai Winding, Eddie Costa, Al Cohn, Milt Hinton, Nat Adderley, and others.

Sabu tracks:

Let There Be Love
Love for Sale
So Beats My Heart for You
Let's Face the Music and Dance

Sabu on Crown compilation

Various: Jazz Confidential; Crown [CST?-] CLP-5056

Sabu plays on "Wash Out."

Also allegedly on the album are Dave Brubeck, Cal Tjader, Jimmy Giuffre, Stan Getz, Shelly Manne, Shorty Rogers, Erroll Garner, Paul Desmond, Sonny Criss, Wardell Gray, Red Norvo, Charlie Shavers, Louis Bellson, Ben Webster, Irving Ashby, Red Callender, Jackie Mills, Willie Smith, and Oscar Moore.

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