Get in the Afro-Cuban mood with Arturo Sandoval


The jazz trumpeter returns to Scullers on May 13th and 14th.

Steve parents

Here is a short story about Arturo Sandoval. I was in New York City on a business trip in 2005. On my only night off, I went to the Blue Note. As it turned out, the Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval played. I didn’t know his music, but I wanted to hear live jazz. The result: My socks were taken off and I became a fan.

I was in LA on a business trip in 2018. On my only night off I went to the Catalina Jazz Club to hear Andy Garcia (actor, pianist and bongo player) who leads his band CineSon All Stars. I knew Garcia Sandoval had played in the TV movie For Love or Country. But I wasn’t prepared for his announcement that night, when he introduced “our special guest Arturo Sandoval,” who stepped forward, trumpet in hand, and blew my socks off once again.

Sandoval, who returns to Scullers for a two-night stand on May 13th and 14th, is a virtuoso trumpeter and flugelhorn player, as well as an accomplished pianist. Born in a small town near Havana, he got his first trumpet from an aunt when he was 10 years old, taught himself as best he could and began classical studies at 12.

But the jazz played in Cuba – usually referred to as Afro-Cuban jazz – caught his interest, and in the late 1960s he became part of the big band Orquestra Cubana de Música Moderna, which a few years later spawned the famous group Iraqis, an octet that would fuse the sounds of jazz, classical, rock and traditional Cuban music.

At one point, Sandoval met bebop master Dizzie Gillespie, who became his mentor and eventually invited Sandoval to join his band. During a European tour with Gillespie in 1990, Sandoval fled Cuba for the United States, moved to Florida with his wife and son, and became an American citizen. This whole story is detailed in Sandoval’s 2014 memoir, Dizzie Gillespie: The Man Who Changed My Life.

Since then, along with countless solo albums, Sandoval has won six Billboard Awards and 10 Grammys, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor in 2013. But what will he play at Scullers? Difficult to tell. His album Flight to Freedom is mostly bop. His album “Dream Come True” is much more relaxed. Afro-Cuban jazz is always on his mind. He could go in any direction.

Sandoval will play separate sets each night at 8pm and 10pm at The Scullers.

See other events Get in the Afro-Cuban mood with Arturo Sandoval

Lindsay Lowe

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