Arturo Sandoval: My Passion for the Piano (2002)
There have been jazz artists who have set aside their usual instrument for an excursion into the realm of another. Bix Beiderbecke was known to play Ravel and other classic composers on the piano. Charles Mingus recorded an album on the keyboard. Now comes first rate trumpet player Arturo Sandoval with his own recorded adventure on the piano. In a trio setting, augmented by saxophonist Ed Calle on two tracks, he takes on an eclectic program of familiar and less familiar material including a few from his composing pen. Sandoval's pianism is characterized by flamboyant chordal and harmonic embellishments with roots in Art Tatum, through Erroll Garner and Oscar Peterson. No Bill Evans like minimalism here. He demonstrates an ability to reconstruct oft played standards with heavy doses of resourceful extemporization. "All The Things You Are" is run through a variety of styles, from swing to quasi classical at break neck speed showing staggering virtuosity along the way. Even on those tracks where he shows a softer side, including his own "D. A. S. S.", the penchant musical verbosity is evident. Sandoval shows that he can play with romantic restraint and beauty on a pensive, flowing "Marianela Says Goodbye". He can also delve into Thelonious Monk craggy impressionism on a spirited "Stella By Starlight" done to an undertone of Cuban rhythm provided by Ernesto Simpson. Sandoval indulges in several choruses of improvisational frenzy before he succumbs to the need for a quick reference to the melody line of this lovely tune.
While the trumpet player's pianism is both dazzling and impressive, one gets the feeling that the full range of Sandoval's stylistic repertoire has been exhausted with this release. As might be expected, he lacks a full envelope of technique and interpretative skill that could support a steady stream of piano albums. Perhaps like Mingus, this is his one shot with this release and will now return to what he does best, being a major performer on trumpet and flugelhorn.
Track Listing: Blues in F; Romantico; Departure*; Esta Tarde Vi Llover; All the Things You Are; Surena; Stella by Starlight; Time Before*; Marianela Says Goodbye; D. A. S. S.; Windmills of Your Mind; Blues En Fa
Personnel: Arturo Sandoval - Piano; Ed Calle - Sax*; Dennis Marks - Bass; Ernesto Simpson - Drums; Samuel Torres - Percussion