As much as Hidalgo drew inspiration from the Cuban musicians he performed with, they too took something away from the experience. Many tried to replicate Hidalgo's technique, and incorporated it into their style of music called songo. This effect was mirrored in Puerto Rico as the Cuban style music was a smashing success.
But the rapport and life-long friendship with Changuito was a precursor to a similar relationship that Hidalgo forged with American jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie, just a few years later. Hidalgo met Gillespie while performing with Eddie Palmieri in New York. Gillespie liked what he heard from Hidalgo and suggested a future collaboration. The future came in 1988 when Gillespie recruited Hidalgo to play with him in the United Nations Jazz Orchestra.
In 1992 Hidalgo accepted a teaching position at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He remained there for four years of which Hidalgo said, "I was teaching and learning at the same time," he says. "I put together all types of rhythms-Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, reggae, African, and jazz", with songs like Bahia San Juan from his Villa Hidalgo album.