Essay: Concert Review: "Jazz Legends: Arturo

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[. . .] Here, Sandoval's career flourished" (Gullard 2012). Without prior knowledge of this history, however, the viewer would not be cognizant of the tune's special meaning for Sandoval. There is little interaction with the audience in terms of wordplay, and the music is allowed to speak for itself. Except for Sandoval's bright shirt, the other musicians are not particularly dressed up for the concert.

However, even if a listener were unaware of the name of the song or Sandoval's personal relationship with Gillespie, he or she would be able to perceive some 'ghosts' of Dizzy's music. It is during this piece that Sandoval is at his most showy during the performance. He plays notes in rapid succession, some impossibly high, others impossibly low, and leads the band on a cacophonous roll. He puts down the trumpet at one point to engage in a bit of wordless 'patter' singing that is not characteristic with the rest of the concert, but embodies the type of 'big band' style that defined Dizzy Gillespie's career. Using his tongue and teeth as well as his voice, the audience breaks into gales of laughter and applause until finally Sandoval allows the band to take over again and the music returns. This shows an artist at the height of his confidence and powers, to allow for such 'out of the box' thinking in terms of how to present a song. Evoking another famous artist shows a great deal of confidence on the part of Sandoval as well as respect, and Sandoval rises to the challenge he has set for himself.

The main trumpet solo of "Nights in Tunisia" yields another striking example of allowing the trumpet to 'talk' to the audience. Sandoval's fingers fly; there is a crescendo of rapidly-escalating notes. Sandoval thanks the audience, generously and warmly, but briefly, as he begins to play the softer warmer sounds of the song's conclusion. The song does convey a sense of what a night out might be -- anticipation, excitement, followed by a quiet, peaceful end. The final notes ebb away as gently as a sunset. The mood is more restrained than "Blues for Dizzy" and the song is more elegant in its presentation. The contrasting songs show two sides of Sandoval's character -- one the consummate performer and entertainer (like Dizzy) the other the consummate musician.

Although less well-known for his jazz piano, Sandoval is an equal virtuoso at this instrument. "I Remember Clifford" features him beginning on the piano, caressing the keys in a solo. The tune is meditative rather than ostentatious. The audience is more restrained as this song plays, but is clearly listening attentively as Sandoval sways gently with the music as he plays.

"Rene's Tune" marks a complete change of pace. Sandoval introduces it with characteristic brevity -- suddenly the drums just begin. The beat is Latin in sound and makes the listener want to dance. Sandoval plays the drums seemingly without effort, and switches just as naturally and confidently to the trumpet. After the arresting, slightly jarring beginning, the horn section mellows the infectious beat for a bit, calming the listener's heart until the trumpet solo once again resorts to an arresting wail.

One of the solos of "Rene's Tune" is literally a single, solitary trumpet wail, sustained on one, blaring compelling note. Then the drums once again slam, creating a beat to which it is almost impossible not to dance to -- the sound evokes that of a dance club from Sandoval's native Cuba in Havana, or some exotic location. The music is fast-paced, but unlike "Nights in Tunisia" or the tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, this song seems primarily designed to invigorate the audience and to encourage their feet to start tapping. The audience will undeniably leave the theater on a high note. The use of this song is clearly intended to close the evening with a memorable climax and cacophony of sound.


Gullard, Marie. "Sandoval remembers Dizzy." The Washington Examiner.

May 2012. [21 May 2012]

"Jazz legends: Arturo Sandoval." You Tube. [21 May 2012] [END OF PREVIEW]

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