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Arturo Sandoval And WDR Big Band Mambo Nights

Arturo Sandoval & WDR Big Band “Mambo Nights” In the course of a career that goes back about forty years, Arturo Sandoval has worked on innumerable album productions both as soloist and as side man. With “Mambo Nights” [...]

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Arturo Sandoval And WDR Big Band Mambo Nights


Arturo Sandoval & WDR Big Band “Mambo Nights” In the course of a career that goes back about forty years, Arturo Sandoval has worked on innumerable album productions both as soloist and as side man. With “Mambo Nights” Señor Sandoval has delivered an eloquent example of his qualities as a performer. In the opening piece, “Sofrito” by Mongo Santamaria, Sandoval and the WDR Big Band, in cheerful mood, set the scene of their plan to revive the great era of Afro-Cuban jazz on this album. In this timeless classic, Sandoval at first keeps a low profile, almost as if he were just warming up; then the following track, “Come Candela”, also written by Mongo Santamaria, sets off a magnificent firework display of spectacular trumpet sounds. In particular his high-register solo notes leave the listener gasping and gaping in amazement. As a reporter from the Washington Star once wrote after a concert: “Sandoval reaches notes most trumpeters barely even know.” “Asi Asi” by Pérez Prado follows, just as exciting. Originally composed by the “King of the Mambo”, it is further enriched by the skilled instrumentalists of the WDR Big Band with crazily cascading sequences. Arturo Sandoval turns one musical somersault after another. In “Manteca”, written by Dizzy Gillespie in 1947 as one of the first ever jazz pieces with a Latin American touch, the trumpeter manages to break all speed records, playing his horn so fast that the listener's ears can barely follow him. In the following track, “A Mayra”, Sandoval the showman proves once again convincingly that he not only possesses top skills and breakneck speed and technique, but he also cuts a good figure as a sleek performer of gentle ballads. He enhances this declaration of love from Bebo Valdés to his daughter Mayra with a charming, silky-soft tone. Then “Autumn Leaves” (original: “Les feuilles mortes”) has a much livelier tempo. This song was first heard in 1946 in Yves Montand's movie “Les Portes de la Nuit”; here Sandoval and the WDR Big Band surprise us with a stormy Latin jazz tour de force. Especially noteworthy is the evergreen “Oye Como Va”, which Tito Puente first made a hit of in 1963 and Carlos Santana immortalized in 1970 with his rock version. In this interpretation, “Oye Como Va” is taken back to its original cha-cha-cha rhythm. On the final track, “Mambo Inn” by Mario Bauzá, the artists have come full circle and take one more bow to one of the greatest Latin jazz epochs in the middle of the last century. This track, first recorded in 1952, stands for the Cubop genre as no other piece does, in other words for the blend of bebop and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Arturo Sandoval first made a name with a broad public when he founded the combo "Irakere" in 1973 together with Chucho Valdés and Paquito D’Rivera. Irakere created a completely new mixture of Latin Music, rock and jazz, and soon had many enthusiastic fans. In 1981 Arturo, the young man from the small town of Artemisa on the outskirts of Havanna, left Irakere to start up a band under his own leadership, and that too soon had a faithful following of fans all over the world, who loved the excellent albums. Listen to "Tumbaito" (Connector Records 1986), his first album recorded outside of Cuba. Between 1982 and 1990 Sandoval with his trumpet was regularly chosen as the best Cuban instrumentalist. Although he enjoyed a certain number of privileges in his home country thanks to his popularity, he felt increasingly ill at ease there. In 1990 he decided he had enough of the tiresome application procedures for traveling abroad and other restrictions under the socialist regime. When he was on tour in Europe, he entered the US embassy in Rome and requested political asylum. A few days later he recorded at the Bauer Studios in Germany, together with Paquito D´Rivera, the outstanding album "Reunion" (first released on Messidor later re- released by Connector Records). He finally settled in Miami. The first album Sandoval made in America, aptly entitled “Flight To Freedom”, gained him rave reviews. This perfect debut was followed in the course of the years by many other performances which confirmed his reputation and opened numerous doors in his new home. He was able to cooperate with greats such as Billy Cobham, Peter Erskine, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock and Woody Herman. His phenomenal range of notes, his lightning-quick sequences and his super-human athleticism on the trumpet helped him to attain four Grammy Awards and six Billboard Awards; he was given a professorship in Florida and was recently invited to join pop musicians such as Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake. There is no question about it: “Arturo Sandoval is the sort of virtuoso artist who comes along only once or twice in a generation.” (London Evening Star). The WDR Big Band has been a quality export article “made in Germany” for the last sixty years, highly prized by music-lovers everywhere. This ensemble, which was a continuation of the Cologne Dance and Light Orchestra, founded in 1947, enjoys high international esteem. These highly versatile “cultural attachés from the Rhineland” are confident in the genre of Latin jazz, as they demonstrated clearly in 2003 at the side of Paquito D'Rivera . This joint performance entitled “Big Band Time” was shortly afterwards rewarded with a Grammy nomination. Finally, Michael Philip Mossman, the American conductor, can also look back on a highly successful career. In the late 1970s he toured with Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, in the 80s he played alongside Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey, Machito, Gerry Mulligan and Horace Silver, and in the 90s he worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, Mario Bauzá and Tito Puente. On “Mambo Nights” Michael Mossman demonstrates once more just why he is one of the elite of today's Latin jazz scene.

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