Friday, March 05, 2021

An evening with Arturo Sandoval

(phone users please scroll to bottom of page & click: web version to access full content )

As a musician with roots in Jazz & Blues, when the opportunity arose to sit down with Arturo for this feature, I jumped at the chance. This is a man I have long admired, first as a person of conviction, secondly as one of a handful of the most elite and gifted musicians that the music world will ever know. He has played with a list of incredible music legends (He winked at me and asked me not to call him that, explaining to me to him that means, "You are either old or dead.") from Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Woody Shaw, Michel Legrand, Bill Conti, and Stan Getz to Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Rod Stewart and Alicia Keys amongst many others. He has performed with Celine Dion at the Oscars, John Williams with the Boston Pops and in the Super Bowl with Tony Bennet and Patti LaBelle.

Granted political asylum in 1990 and US citizenship in 1999, Sandoval and his family now call Miami, Florida home. A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval was born in Artemisa, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, just two years after Gillespie became the first musician to bring Latin influences into American Jazz. He began studying classical trumpet at the age of twelve, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He has since evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugel horn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer.

Arturo has been awarded 4 Grammy Awards, 6 Billboard Awards and an Emmy Award. The latter for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, “For Love or Country” starring Andy Garcia. He is one of the most dynamic and vivacious live performers of our time, and has recently been seen by millions on the Grammy Awards performing with pop-phenomenon Justin Timberlake as well as on the Latin Billboard Awards with the gifted Alicia Keys, where he was awarded his 6th Billboard Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album”.

Not only a tenured professor at Florida International University, he works nationally and abroad with innumerable institutions and their music departments offering several scholarships, exercise books, clinics and seminars, and has rendered a considerable amount of time working with the NARAS educational program.

Sandoval is also a renowned classical musician, performing regularly with the leading symphony orchestras from around the world. Arturo has composed his own “Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra”, which can be heard on “Arturo Sandoval: The Classical Album.” Also, he has been chosen to perform with the foremost orchestras on primetime television, and was asked by John Williams to record on Williams’ original Trumpet Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra. His classical artistry has earned him the respect and admiration from the most prestigious conductors, composers and symphony orchestras world-wide.

During the course of our chat, Arturo spoke of his love of Cuba, his family, and of course, we being who we are, his love and memories from his childhood and the Spanish cuisine prepared by his grandmothers, mother and now, his wife. I feel privileged to have been given access to this wonderful man and his zest for life. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed doing it.

An Evening with Jazz Legend, Arturo Sandoval