Latin jazz great Arturo Sandoval says he doesn't want to be remembered as a jazz trumpeter, but as a man who loved music. While his reputation goes beyond playing jazz trumpet, including renowned classical musician, pianist, vocalist and composer, it's his mastery of the horn that has earned him worldwide recognition. As VOA's Doug Levine tells us, Sandoval celebrates his jazz roots on a new CD titled Rumba Palace.
Long before Arturo Sandoval became a U.S. citizen in 1998, he was a classical trumpet student at the Cuban National School for the Arts. While classical music has always been part of his repertoire, jazz was his first love. Sandoval says jazz was everywhere growing up on the outskirts of the Cuban capital Havana, including a club that inspired the title of his latest album, "Rumba Palace."
"I remember many years ago when I was a kid, there was a place in Havana with the same name where people used to go to see the dancers dance the rumba; and of course, the players, especially the percussion players," Sandoval says. "And I used to go to that place almost every day, and I always saw the name on the marquee, Rumba Palace. That name, I like it.
"When I was mixing the record I didn't have a title for the record," he notes. "And I waited until the last minute because there were 10 brand new compositions that I just did for the record. In the last minute, we were doing the mixing when that name came to my mind again, Rumba Palace. I've got to name the record.' "
Sandoval's Rumba Palace explodes with rhythm. In true Sandoval style, some tracks feature multiple trumpets and trombones layered with timbales, drums and percussion.
"The kind of music we play sometimes demands your concentration and your mind together. Otherwise, you cannot do it right," he says.
"It's very happy music. It's uplifting music," Sandoval explains. "I think people everyday see a big amount of sad news. And I think that they need something to keep their hope alive and enjoy life."
When he's not on the road with his touring band, Arturo Sandoval makes time to perform at his own jazz club in Miami Beach, Florida. He also teaches clinics on jazz trumpet and composition around the country, as well as jazz performance at Florida International University.