Arturo Sandoval

From Academic Kids

Arturo Sandoval (born November 6, 1949) is a jazz trumpeter and pianist. He was born in Artemisa, Cuba.

While still in Cuba, he was obsessed with bebop recordings by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He finally met Gillespie in 1977. He promptly became a mentor and colleague, playing with Sandoval in concerts in Europe and Cuba and later featuring him in The United Nations Orchestra. In 1998, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Sandoval's life was the subject of the 2000 TV film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story, starring Andy Garcia.



He started playing music at age 13 in the village band, where he learned the basics of music theory and percussion. After playing many instruments, he finally settled on the trumpet. In 1964, he began three years of serious classical trumpet studies at the Cuban National School of Arts. By the age of 16 he had earned a place in Cuba’s all-star national band. By this time, he was totally immersed in Jazz with Dizzy Gillespie his idol. In 1971 he was drafted into the military in 1971, luckily Sandoval was still able to play with the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna. Because of this he was able to continue his daily practice regimen, an absolute necessity for trumpeters.


Sandoval has proven to be extremely versatile, capable of playing pretty much anything. He has done classical work, Salsa, Be-bop, and is one of the foremost Cubop players in the world. He can dazzle with his supercharged tone and bop-flavored flurries way up in the trumpet's highest register. Yet in the slower numbers he has a golden, mellow tone on the flugelhorn, with a subtle sense of swing. He is capable of playing anything, proving it more than once by tackling classical arrangements as well as jazz in the same concert, and he has enough curiosity to search far beyond his Cubop base for repertory.

Artists Role in the Jazz Scene

He co-founded Irakere with the Chucho Valdes and Paquito D’Rivera. They quickly became a worldwide sensation. After their appearance at the 1978 Newport Jazz Festival they were introduced to the American audiences, this garnered them a recording contract with Columbia Records. Sandoval was still exploring his musical possibilities and left the group in 1981 to form his own band. He continued to tour worldwide with his new group, playing a unique blend of Jazz and Latin Music. In addition to playing Latin Jazz he also performed classically with the BBC Symphony in London, and the Leningrad Symphony in the former Soviet Union. He has enjoyed a successful recording career that extends outside of traditional Jazz. He has recorded as a sideman with Johnny Mathis, Gloria Estfan, Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra, and Dave Grusin. He has also done concerts with Woody Herman, Herbie Hancock, Woody Shaw, Stan Getz, Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle and Céline Dion.

Stylistic Influences

Sandoval’s raw talent has led him to associate with many musicians, but the most important would have to be Dizzy Gillespie. As a longtime proponent of Afro-Cuban music Dizzy has been referred to as a type of “spiritual father” by Sandoval. The two great trumpet players met in the Cuba in 1977, Dizzy was playing impromptu gigs in the Caribbean with Stan Getz. Sandoval later said: “I went to the boat to find him. I've never had a complex about meeting famous people. If I respect somebody, I go there and try to meet them.” Because of the Cuba’s political situation, the country had been isolated from American musicians for nearly twenty year when Dizzy was visiting. Gillespie wanted to hear the music of the black neighborhoods where musicians play guaguanco (a popular style of rumba) in the street. Sandoval offered to take Dizzy around, and only later that evening when he got up on stage did Sandoval reveal himself as a musician.

Association with other Jazz Musicians

Sandoval has worked with: Vikki Carr, Luis Enrique, Mike Couzzi, George Noriega, Lee Levin, Tony Concepcion, Julio Hernandez, Rene Toledo, Rita Quintero, Dana Teboe, and Ed Calle


". . .[M]y philosophy has always been that I love music. Period. I don't want to be remembered as a jazz trumpeter. I'd like to be remembered as a man who loved music. Because I like to play piano, I like to compose. I like to do all those things as much as I like to play the trumpet."

--Arturo Sandoval in Billboard

“Whether striding out blues by Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, and Oliver, playing in the hot bebop styles of Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, and Clifford Brown, the muted, elegant silkiness of the warm, thin-toned masters such as Chet Baker, Harry James, and Miles Davis, or classical maestros such as Maurice Andre, Rafael Méndez, or Timofei Dokshizer and the full-throated sweetness of Bunny Berigan, Cootie Williams, Clark Terry, and Roy Eldridge, or the hard edgy sounds of Maynard Ferguson, or the technically perfect pitch of Marsalis, the effect is the same, perfection, and not just technical. The emotional resonances of these tunes ring as true as if Sandoval wrote them himself.”

--Thom Jurek, All Music Guide


  • 1976 - Havana - David Amram
  • 1977 - New York - David Amram
  • 1978 - The Best of Irakere - Irakere
  • 1979 - Irakere - Irakere
  • 1982 - To a Finland Station - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1983 - Breaking the Sound Barrier - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1986 - No Problem - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1987 - Tumbaito - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1988 - Straight Ahead - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1989 - Classics - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1989 - Arturo Sandoval - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1990 - Live at the Royal Festival Hall 1989 - Dizzy Gillespie
  • 1991 - Flight to Freedom - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1992 - I Remember Clifford - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1993 - Danzon (Dance On) - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1993 - Dreams Come True - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1993 - Passion - Regina Belle
  • 1994 - Cubano - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1995 - Arturo Sandoval y el Tren Latino - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1995 - Concerto - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1995 - Arturo Sandoval & The Latin Train - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1996 - Double Talk - Ed Calle
  • 1996 - Swingin - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1997 - Just Music - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1998 - Hot House - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1999 - Americana - Arturo Sandoval
  • 1999 - Sunset Harbor - Ed Calle
  • 2000 - Ronnie Scott's Jazz House - Arturo Sandoval
  • 2000 - For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story - Soundtrack
  • 2001 - Piedras Y Flores - Amaury Gutiérrez
  • 2001 - L.A. Meetings - Arturo Sandoval
  • 2002 - My Passion for the Piano - Arturo Sandoval
  • 2003 - From Havana With Love - Arturo Sandoval
  • 2003 - Trumpet Evolution - Arturo Sandoval

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