Friday, March 05, 2021

An evening with Arturo Sandoval

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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


Monday, March 01, 2021


The idea for this post, came from my going through my readers/follower list, when I had a followers list. Years ago...before I was banned permanently from twitter for calling Chelsea Handler a derogatory name. My bad.................for saying it out loud.......she's def the derogatory name, she's the damned poster child......But I digress. 

I had quality not quantity. I like that. Almost 20k of the top A List Media, Corporate, Celeb, Chefs and Influencers. Met some great folks still conneected through linkedin. I'm better for it. Forced my hand to spend 6 years in the wilderness. Oh and just some personal advice, take it or leave it: Get the hell off twitter. Facebook we can manage. With good uplifting wholesome content no one can stop us. Twitter is a 140 character shithole that will give a disclaimer should I post 'The Our Father,' so as not to offend liberals and preferred 'VERIFIED" terrorist groups and countries. Get the hell off twitter.

So I used to regularly go through my readers/follower list as I was saying above. Something I would often do, and one of the few upsides to my obsessive-compulsive behavior. Besides my purely base human need to be nosy about what's going on, I justify myself by rationalizing that Kitchen Rap is a conduit for information and discussion. While that may be true, in reality, I did and do it for another reason completely. Those first two reasons I just mentioned are just a resultant upside. "Sauce for the goose, Mr Savik, Sauce, for the goose."

he real reason I go through my follower list is PSYCHGRAPHICS, to find out Who my readers are, what they like & why did they actually follow me? To get to know them. Was it a piece of information? Was it a quote? Was it a referral? I attempt to provide information everyday and, to a select segment of the population, specifically. Though I could very easily click what's trending and pass along information based upon that alone, and some do, that wouldn't necessarily tell me what's trending with my followers.

That said, I am amazed at the absolute diversity of my followers. Different ethnic backgrounds, different countries, different languages, different races, creeds, political views, men and women alike. Pretty humbling actually. You name it and those that have stuck with me exemplify the full spectrum of life on this planet. Now I don't think that it is because of my wonderfully caustic personality and rapier like wit. So, if I look at it carefully, I can only come to one conclusion. It's about the passion. For Life, Food, Knowledge, Wisdom, about anything. My list of diverse topics to explore is endless. My hunger and thirst for more understanding, of myself as well as the Universe, will never be satiated by merely knowing, the two being distinctly seperate things. I need the WHY? Always have.

Knowing something in no way equals understanding it. Look, I'm just some guy from Jersey, living in Paradisee, who sometimes writes about stuff I really love. And always centered around Food...for the Body, Food for the Brain, Food for the soul.<-you like what I did right there...nice tidy bow.⧓ 

Cuisine was very important to the politics and very culture of life for years. Did you know in 1555,  Nostradamus (1503-1566) published his best-known book of prophecies, “Centuries Astrologiques" as well as “Excellent er Moult Utile Opuscule a tous necessaire qui desirent avoir connaissance de plusieurs exquises recettes.” (An excellent and most useful little work, essential to all who wish to become acquainted with some exquisite recipes). Well, now you know. Go amaze your friends on your breadth of culinary trivia knowledge.  Don't snicker. You know some of you will use it. I did, just now.

he dinner table is where treaties were written, alliances made, scholarly discourse engaged in. Ideas that changed the world, in most cases happened at a dinner table, or at a campfire, over a meal. For most now though, eating has become just a means of sustainence, fuel.
As a self titled gourmet and food snob, I now care very much what I'm eating, especially with friends. However, I'm comfortable in the fact that my predilection for fine cuisine now simply makes the social act of sharing a meal...more enjoyable. 

The next time you want to connect, re-connect, apologize, congratulate, or just shoot the breeze, do it over a meal. Life becomes much more civil with shared experiences.


The World Needs Dreamers...

 Just some musings about what has been on my mind lately.

Watching the news and what trends in today's (current times) Social Media world, it is evident that, sadly, when given a choice in today's society, the majority of people, when faced with the decision to do the right thing or the wrong, will inherently choose the wrong thing.

We (collectively) no longer take responsibility for our actions, or are held accountable, as witnessed by our politicians doing whatever they want with no recompense. Nor do we (collectively) have any regard for the consequences of our actions...our culture is rife with admonitions from celebrities, the media, politicians and special interest groups to aspire to all the wrong goals and priorities.

Not being negative here, just relating some observations. Instead of paying it forward, or simply affording our fellow humans the same dignity, or respect, or courtesy that we ourselves would hope to receive, we demand it without ever practicing it ourselves or earning it. The choices we make daily....dictate the life we lead...and our actions toward others determine their actions back toward us. We are the Creators of our own reality.

Just stop and think how different the world would be if we all, including our politicians, leaders and influencers, right down to the 'so called' lowliest among us, chose to stop, breathe and reflect, before reacting. Or, we stopped before we proactively did something and determined to simply do the right thing, regardless of what we might gain for ourselves.

What do you do when no one is watching? What will you do, even if you are not recognized or get 'credit?" How do you treat those that cannot do anything for you in return, or NO LONGER do anything for you, when they are in need? 

You are what you DO...not what you say... not what you post, what you wear, what you buy, what you accumulate or what other people think of you...Be...the change you seek...Dare to say "I am!"

We have the choice to forgive or hold a grudge, to help or not help, to respond with kindness and courtesy or with anger and abuse. It's up to us as individuals to regulate and be in control of our own behavior, well before we seek to change someone else's. 

If we determine, everyday to practice love, tolerance kindness and self control, being responsible for simply our own actions, and it human by one human...think what a wonderful change we can effect, like a ripple in a pond slowly spreading out till it reaches every shore.

Pie in the sky you say? A dream you say? Maybe, but I'll start with me. You simply start with you, asking nothing of anyone but yourself and we'll see what we shall see. 

Yes, I am a dreamer filled with hope while still cognizant of the evils and obstacles we as a species face in these trying and contentious times, but I'll not apologize. The world needs dreamers.

"Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…they change things. They push the human race forward."~ Steve Jobs. 

Care to help me push?