Arturo Sandoval: His Group & Rumba Palace
Arturo Sandoval & His Group
Arturo Sandoval's career, from his early days in Irakere to his solo career in Cuba and finally his defection to the United States (while touring with Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Band) is colorful enough even without considering the music.
His early material recorded in Cuba hadn't been much available stateside in the past years, but those long-lost records are finally making their way into the market; now we have Arturo Sandoval & His Group, which brings together two LPs originally released in 1981 and 1982.
One noticeable thing is how Sandoval balances radio-friendly material with harder stuff; for instance, he plays a by-the-note version of the Jennings-Kerr composition "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again , a song popularized by Dionne Warwick, but also includes "Variazones Para Una Mazurca de Chopin , which blends AfroCuban and classical elements. Another highlight is Ernesto Lecuona's "La Malagueña , which features great work by bassist Jorge Reyes, guitarist Ahmed Barroso and percussionist Reinaldo Valera. Also notable is the Sandoval composition "Sabado 14 , which shows his ability to mix funk-disco elements into Latin music without sounding at all corny.
Fast-forward to 2007, where we find the trumpeter comfortably living in Florida, performing, recording and working as an educator. On Rumba Palace, he goes pre-Irakere with a collection of original songs that bears an AfroCuban feel not far from Buena Vista Social Club turf, with Sandoval even sporadically abandoning the mouthpiece to sing.
His trademark high-register squeal is mostly absent here, but a fine example appears on one of the disc's best tracks, "El Huracán Del Caribe , also featuring the vocals of Cheito Quiñónes, Sr. Sandoval veers from the dance floor on the syncopated "21st Century , which features complex solos from saxophonist Felipe Lamoglia and bassist Armando Gola, both current members of Sandoval's touring band.
Another notable moment is "Guaranchando , in which Sandoval mostly steps aside in lieu of percussionists Alexis "Puti Arce and Tomas Cruz. On the beautiful ballad "Peaceful , the band is reduced to a quartet (saxophone, keys, trumpet and bass), giving Sandoval an opportunity to show his softer side.
Tracks and Personnel
Arturo Sandoval & His Group
Tracks: Seas Tu; Para Empezar a Vivir; Cuatro Gigantes; Yo Nunca Volveré a Amar de Esta Manera; Canción Para Una Madre; Variazones Para Una Mazurca de Chopin; La Malagueña; Sábado 14; El Dia En Que Me Quieras; Summertime; Popurrit Mexicano
Personnel: Arturo Sandoval: trumpet; Hilario Durán: piano, keyboards; Jorge Chicoy: guitar; Ahmed Barroso: guitar; Bernardo Garcia: guitar; Reinaldo Valera: percussion; Jorge Reyes: bass.
Tracks: A Gozar; Guarachando; El Huracón del Caribe; 21st Century; Sexy Lady; Peaceful; Having Fun; Arranca de Nuevo; Rumba Palace; Noveau Cha Cha Cha
Personnel: Arturo Sandoval: bass trumpet; Felipe Lamoglia: saxophone; Jason Carder: trumpet; Dante Luciani: trombone; Dana Teboe: trombone; Tony Perez: keyboard; Armando Gola: bass instrument; Alexis 'Pututi' Arce: bata; Tomas Cruz: bata; Cheito Quiñónes, Sr.: background vocals.