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Arturo Sandoval: Ronnie Scott's Jazz House

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Now that Arturo Sandoval is approaching mythologization through a new HBO movie entitled, appropriately enough "The Arturo Sandoval Story," revived interest in his life and career—of course in sync with the Latin, and specifically Cuban, music surge—inevitably will lead to new recordings, re-releases and touring schedules. And to think: The Feds almost deported this soon-to-be legend.

DCC Compact Classics' timing is good, very good indeed. But it seems to be coincidental. The DCC label so far has specialized in re-releasing classic performances of yesteryear recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz House in London. Already, legendary performances by Wes Montgomery and Sonny Stitt are on the market.

The significance of Sandoval's CD is that it was recorded the year before his defection and while he was still a Cuban citizen. We get to hear Sandoval before commercial interests may have been suspected to alter his style.

Well, the commercial interests didn't. Sandoval is entirely consistent, and even today, his commanding and soaring style continues to enthrall audiences

In 1988, though, Sandoval seemed to be enthralled by a few things American, specifically pop songs of the 1980's like "My Love" and "Saving All My Love." Even "Georgia On My Mind," after an intro falling from the highest to lowest register like an asteroid from the stratosphere, seems to have inspired Sandoval to the extent that he has to sing it in Spanish.

While he does get into some Cuban tunes like "Alo Chicoy," Torres, now recording on Blue Note as Hilario Durán, synthesizes the accompaniment into a Las Vegas-like sound, allowing Sandoval to vary the effects through half-valve antics, trills and growls. The Ronnie Scott's audience must have loved it. The samba "Sambeando" literally includes all of the bells and whistles simulating Brazilian street dance percussive accoutrements so that Sandoval can improvise in a call-and-response fashion within the repeated line of the song.

Able to crank up his diaphragm as few other trumpeters can, Sandoval's work on "Ronnie Scott's Jazz House" documents his unwavering talent that was then on the cusp of worldwide discovery. Now his talent is taking the additional step of worldwide canonization. He deserves it.

Track Listing:

El Misterioso, Saving All My Love, Sambeando, Reggae, Alo Chicoy, Georgia On My Mind, My Love, Libertao Carnaval

Personnel:

Arturo Sandoval, trumpet; Jorge L. Chicoy, guitar; Hilario Dur

Record Label: DCC

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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