On the 16th of July in 1961, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Chris Connor, the Tommy Flanagan trio, Herbie Mann, Curtis Fuller, Al Cohn, Roy Eldridge, Ben Tucker, Dave Bailey, Dizzy Gillespie (with Lalo Schiffrin and Leo Wright), Kenny Dorham, and Jo Jones performed in a memorable night at Rio's temple of classical music, Teatro Municipal. It would be a historic moment for bossa nova, as these musicians became interested in Brazilian music and helped to spread it worldwide. Soon after (March 1962), Stan Getz recorded "Desafinado" with Charlie Byrd, exploding in the U.S.
The concert was part of a session entitled American Jazz Festival, which presented the musicians in performances throughout South America. It opened in São Paulo, where the musicians performed in four consecutive nights. The after-hours shows were joined by Brazilian musicians, such as the drummer Turquinho (playing with Tommy Flanagan and Ben Tucker), Luiz Chaves, and Eliseu (at the Farney's nightclub). Gillespie also took part in the jam sessions, as a pianist, playing also with musicians from a samba school of São Paulo's.