Tribute albums are a plenty these days to legends in jazz. These discs have varying degrees of quality and artistic sincerity. Without question Arturo Sandoval’s latest disc is at an extremely high level of accomplishment in any regard. The heartfelt nature of the project no doubt drives the effort.
Jazz fans who were plugged into the music during the 1980s may recall when Arturo Sandoval first appeared on the national jazz scene. On national television, he publicly stated he was one of the lucky few who had escaped, with his family, oppressive conditions in Cuba to enjoy freedom –both personal and artistic. That exodus was the work of his friend and mentor, Dizzy Gillespie. The legendary trumpeter and founder of modern jazz was also a tremendous humanitarian. It can be said that among his greatest accomplishments was the assistance he gave Sandoval and his family in the critical exodus to freedom.
The album itself is a big band tour de force of classics from Dizzy’s book, all driven by an excellent bebop sensibility. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable session. Tunes covered included Salt Peanuts(Mani Salado) Tin Tin Deo, A Night In Tunisia, and other essential Gillespie gems.
Joining Sandoval on the session are a group of world-renowned jazz artists: Vibraphonist Gary Burton, saxophonist Bob Mintzer, organist Joey DeFrancesco, clarinetist Eddie Daniels, saxophonist Ed Calle, drummer/producer Gregg Field and special guests including actor Andy Garcia on percussion and vocalist Manolo Gimenez. The session is, as Field describes, is Sandoval's "love letter to an old friend." Highly recommended!