By Matt Micucci
Jazz trumpeter and pianist Arturo Sandoval takes to the stage at the 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, with A Special Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie on Wednesday, December 2, at 8:00 pm.
Gillespie has been a great influence on Sandoval’s music. The Cuban trumpeter was trained in classical music at the Cuban National School of Arts, but furtively listened to jazz on the only station he could – Voice of America. That is where his love for jazz blossomed.
Later in life, Sandoval met his idol, the legendary trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie, in 1977. They became protégé and mentor, a relationship that solidified in 1990 when Sandoval defected from Cuba while in Europe on tour with Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra.
Eventually, Sandoval settled in Miami. It was there that he began his musical life anew as a jazz composer, performer, producer and bandleader, while remaining deeply committed to classical music and playing in orchestras all over the world.
He has been nominated for 19 Grammys and won 10. He has also been awarded six Billboards Awards, and wrote the Emmy Award winning score for the HBO movie about his life, entitled “For Love and Country”. In 2013, Sandoval even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Like his hero Dizzy Gillespie, he is the ultimate showman onstage. He continues to embrace the rhythms and culture of his native land of Cuba, now being an elder statesman of Latin jazz, and he is considered one of the finest trumpeters in the world.
The concert on December 2, will also include music from his latest CD, Live at Yoshi’s. This is a record that reveals what’s essential to Sandoval. Live at Yoshi’s is partially a greatest hits collection, a history of jazz lesson but also a tribute to his heroes – aside from his idol Dizzy Gillespie, who remains deeply embedded in Sandoval’s heart despite his passing in 1992, it celebrates the life and music of such figures as Clifford Brown and Miles Davis.
Joining Arturo Sandoval at 92nd Street Y are Dave Siegel on keyboards, Johnny Friday on drums, Kemuel Roig on piano, John Belzaguy on bass and Ricardo Pasillas on percussions.