Arturo Sandoval

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Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval photo.jpg
Sandoval performing in 2008
Background information
Born (1949-11-06) November 6, 1949 (age 69)
Artemisa, Cuba
Genres Jazz, Latin Jazz, Afro-Cuban
InstrumentsTrumpet - Piano
Years active1977–present
Associated acts Irakere, Dizzy Gillespie, GRP All-Star Big Band

Arturo Sandoval (born November 6, 1949) is a Cuban-American jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer.

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".


Sandoval, while living in his native Cuba, was influenced by jazz musicians Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and Dizzy Gillespie, finally meeting Gillespie later in 1977. Gillespie became a mentor and colleague, playing with Sandoval in concerts in Europe and Cuba and later featuring him in the United Nations Orchestra. Sandoval defected while touring with Gillespie in 1990, and he became a naturalized citizen in 1998.

Cuba Country in the Caribbean

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometres (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometres (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Charlie Parker American jazz saxophonist and composer

Charles Parker Jr., also known as Yardbird and Bird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.

Clifford Brown American jazz musician

Clifford Benjamin Brown was an American jazz trumpeter. He died at the age of 25 in a car accident, leaving behind four years' worth of recordings. He was also a composer of note: three of his compositions, "Sandu," "Joy Spring" and "Daahoud", have become jazz standards.

His life was the subject of the film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story (2000), starring Andy García. Sandoval has won ten Grammy Awards and been nominated nineteen times; he has also received six Billboard Awards and one Emmy Award. Additionally, Sandoval has performed in a Super Bowl Halftime Show (1995), [1] in an Orange Bowl (2009) [2] at the White House, [3] and at the University of Notre Dame. [4]

<i>For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story</i> 2000 film by Joseph Sargent

For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story is a 2000 American made-for-television biographical drama film about jazz musician Arturo Sandoval starring Andy García. The film was produced for HBO premium cable network and first aired on November 18, 2000.

Andy García Cuban American actor

Andrés Arturo García Menéndez is a Cuban American actor and director who became known in the late 1980s and 1990s, having appeared in successful Hollywood films, including The Godfather Part III, The Untouchables, Internal Affairs and When a Man Loves a Woman. In the 2000s, he starred in Ocean's Eleven and its sequels:, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen, and in The Lost City.

An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry, and is the equivalent of an Academy Award, the Tony Award, and the Grammy Award.

On August 8, 2013, former President Barack Obama announced that Sandoval would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. [5]

Barack Obama 44th president of the United States

Barack Hussein Obama II is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the first African American to be elected to the presidency. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008.

Presidential Medal of Freedom joint-highest civilian award of the United States, bestowed by the President

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States. The Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal are the highest civilian awards of the United States. It recognizes those people who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.

Life and career

Sandoval was born in Artemisa. As a twelve-year-old boy in Cuba, Sandoval played trumpet with street musicians. He helped establish the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, which became the band Irakere in 1973. He toured worldwide with his own group in 1981. The following year he toured with Dizzy Gillespie, who became his friend and mentor. In 1989, Gillespie invited Sandoval to be part of the United Nations Orchestra. During a tour with this group, Sandoval visited the American Embassy in Rome to defect from Cuba. He became an American citizen on December 7, 1998. [6]

Irakere is a Cuban band founded by pianist Chucho Valdés in 1973. They won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Recording in 1980 with their album Irakere. Irakere was a seminal musical laboratory, where historic innovations in both Afro-Cuban jazz and Cuban popular dance music were created. The group used a wide array of percussion instruments like batá, abakuá and arará drums, chequerés, erikundis, maracas, claves, cencerros, bongó, tumbadoras (congas), and güiro.

Sandoval has performed Latin jazz with Paquito D'Rivera, Tito Puente, and Chico O'Farrill, Cuban music in Miami, and classical music in England and Germany. In the 1990s, he was a member of the GRP All-Star Big Band. [6]

Latin jazz is a genre of jazz with Latin American rhythms. Although musicians continually expand its parameters, the term Latin jazz is generally understood to have a more specific meaning than simply "jazz from Latin America". Some Latin jazz typically employs rhythms that either have a direct analog in Africa, or exhibit an African influence. The two main categories of Latin jazz are:

  1. Afro-Cuban jazz – jazz rhythmically based on Cuban popular dance music, often with a rhythm section employing ostinato patterns or a clave.
  2. Afro-Brazilian jazz – includes bossa nova and jazz samba.
Paquito DRivera Cuban musician

Paquito D'Rivera is a Cuban-born American saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer who plays and composes jazz and classical music.

Tito Puente Latin jazz and salsa musician and composer

Ernesto Antonio "Tito" Puente was an American musician, songwriter and record producer. The son of Ernest and Ercilia Puente, native Puerto Ricans living in New York City's Spanish Harlem, Puente is often credited as "The Musical Pope", "El Rey de los Timbales" and "The King of Latin Music". He is best known for dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions that endured over a 50-year career. He and his music appear in many films such as The Mambo Kings and Fernando Trueba's Calle 54. He guest-starred on several television shows, including Sesame Street and The Simpsons two-part episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?". His most famous song is "Oye Como Va".

Sandoval's song "A Mis Abuelos" (To My Grandparents) received Grammy Award nominations for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Arrangement. This composition was featured on his Grammy-winning album, Danzon. Other highlights from Sandoval's discography featuring his compositions include Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You) (2012), Live at the Blue Note (2005), Rumba Palace (Grammy 2007), and Hot House (Grammy 1998).

His 2018 album Ultimate Duets features a self-titled collaboration with Pharrell Williams and Ariana Grande. [7]

Movies and television

Sandoval in the East Room of the White House, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, October 12, 2001 Arturo Sandoval performs during a White House reception.jpg
Sandoval in the East Room of the White House, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, October 12, 2001

When HBO Films developed a film based on Sandoval's life, he was asked to score the movie, which earned him his first Emmy award. In 1996, Sandoval was commissioned by the Kennedy Center Ballet to score Pepito's Story, a ballet based on the book by Eugene Fern and choreographed by Debbie Allen. Sandoval also composed a classical trumpet concerto that he performed and recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. [8]

Sandoval's compositions and performances can be heard in The Mambo Kings , which was nominated for a Grammy in 1992 for Best Instrumental Composition written for a Motion Picture or for Television.

A 2017 television commercial for the Apple iPhone 7 called "Dive" [9] features Sandoval's "La Virgen de la Macarena". As the song starts to play on his iPhone, an older sunbather turns the volume to its maximum, sets the phone on the table, and walks to the diving platform as curious sunbathers look on. Another older man steps aside as he ascends the steps, and the man hands off his sunglasses to a young girl, who watches in curiosity. Passing by a bronzed and fit young man on the platform, the older man looks once to his phone, spreads his arms wide, then leaps from the high platform. As he falls through space, it appears he will crash into a belly flop, but pulls it into a graceful dive at the last moment as the song hits its bombastic climax. Water splashes the waterproof phone as he glides through the water, bubbles trailing behind him.

Other work

In 2015, Arturo Sandoval joined the 14th annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to assist independent musicians' careers. He was also a judge for the 2nd, 12th and 13th Independent Music Awards.


As leader

As sideman

Arturo Sandoval at the International Jazz Festival, Prague, Lucerna Music Hall, 1984 Arturo Sandoval 1984.jpg
Arturo Sandoval at the International Jazz Festival, Prague, Lucerna Music Hall, 1984

With Gloria Estefan

With the GRP All-Star Big Band

With Dave Grusin

With Ed Calle

With others


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  1. CLARY, MIKE (1997-04-23). "Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval Is Denied U.S. Citizenship". Los Angeles Times. ISSN   0458-3035 . Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  2. SMS PTY (2009-01-01), Arturo Sandoval Orange Bowl 2009 , retrieved 2018-10-01
  3. "A Castro critic was playing Scullers when he learned of the former Cuban leader's death - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  4. Dame, Marketing Communications: Web // University of Notre. "Arturo Sandoval returns to Notre Dame for concert, halftime performance in support of Christmas album". Notre Dame News. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  5. "President Obama Names Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients". Office of the Press Secretary, The White House. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 Diaz Ayala, Cristóbal; Kernfeld, Barry (2002). Kernfeld, Barry, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 3 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 499. ISBN   1-56159-284-6.
  7. Helman, Peter (May 4, 2018). "Arturo Sandoval & Pharrell Williams – "Arturo Sandoval" (Feat. Ariana Grande)". Stereogum. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  8. "Home - Arturo Sandoval".
  10. Music Hound Jazz ed. Steve Holtje, Music Hound, Nancy Ann Lee: 2001 "Sandoval returned to straight-ahead jazz with Swingin'"
  11. "Arturo Sandoval | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  12. "Arturo Sandoval | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2017.