Arturo Sandoval

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Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval photo.jpg
Background information
Born (1949-11-06) November 6, 1949 (age 65)
Artemisa, Cuba
Genres Latin Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, Composer
Instruments Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Piano, Percussion, Vocals
Years active 1977–present
Associated acts Dizzy Gillespie, Irakere, Alicia Keys, Zane Musa
Website The official site.

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

Sandoval, while still in Cuba, was influenced by jazz legends Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and Dizzy Gillespie, finally meeting Dizzy later in 1977. Gillespie promptly became a mentor and colleague, playing with Arturo in concerts in Europe and Cuba and later featuring him in The United Nations Orchestra. Sandoval defected to the United States of America in Spain, while touring with Gillespie in 1990, and became a naturalized citizen in 1999.

Sandoval's life was the subject of the 2000 TV film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story, starring Andy García as Arturo Sandoval. He currently resides in Tarzana, California. Sandoval has been awarded 10 Grammy Awards, and nominated 17 times; he has also received 6 Billboard Awards and one Emmy Award.

On August 8, 2013, President Barack Obama announced that Arturo Sandoval would be a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[1]


A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval was born in Artemisa, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, on November 6, 1949, just two years after Gillespie became the first musician to bring Latin influences into American Jazz. Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of twelve, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He has since evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugel horn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer.

He is one of the most dynamic and vivacious live performers of our time, and has been seen by millions at the Oscars performing with Celine Dion, at the Grammy Awards with Justin Timberlake and in his own right as a leader. He also performed at the Billboard Awards with Alicia Keys.

Sandoval has been awarded 10 Grammy Awards, and nominated 17 times; he has also received 6 Billboard Awards and an Emmy Award. The latter for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, “For Love or Country” starring Andy Garcia. Although the biopic portrays Sandoval as fluent in English he was not; his primary method of communicating with Gillespie was through the music. His two latest Grammy award winning albums, “Dear Diz “Everyday I think of you” and Tango “Como Yo Te Siento” are now available worldwide. Recently released, is a new book chronicling his relationship with Dizzy Gillespie entitled “The Man Who Changed My Life”. These memoirs were written for him by Robert Simon and Marianela Sandoval with a foreword by Quincy Jones. Arturo is also the 2013 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Sandoval was a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning group Irakere, whose explosive mixture of jazz, classical, rock and traditional Cuban music caused a sensation throughout the entertainment world. In 1981, he left Irakere to form his own band, which garnered enthusiastic praise from critics and audiences all over the world, and continues to do so.

Sandoval is also a renowned classical musician, performing regularly with the leading symphony orchestras from around the world. Arturo has composed his own “Concerto for Trumpet & Orchestra”, which can be heard on “Arturo Sandoval: “The Classical Album.” Arturo has performed with the foremost orchestras in the country as well as abroad and recorded John Williams’ Trumpet Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra. His classical artistry has earned him the respect and admiration from the most prestigious conductors, composers and symphony orchestras worldwide.

Arturo Sandoval’s versatility can be heard on recordings with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Woody Shaw, Michel Legrand, Bill Conti, and Stan Getz to Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Rod Stewart, Josh Groban and Alicia Keys amongst many others. He has performed with John Williams with the Boston Pops, and in the Super bowl with Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle.

His compositions can also be heard on Dave Grusin’s soundtrack for “Havana” and “Random Heart”, in the “Mambo Kings” soundtrack with his Grammy nominated composition “Mambo Caliente”, in the soundtrack of “The Perez Family”, “61”, “Mr. Wrong”, the documentary “Oscar”, and “The Family Fuentes” among of others. He also was commissioned by the Kennedy Center to compose the music for the ballet “Pepito’s Story”, “Soul Possessed”, as well as “Oman O Men”, and “The Chocolate Hot Nutcracker, choreographed by Debbie Allen. And as mentioned above, he was awarded an Emmy for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, “For Love or Country” starring Andy Garcia. Arturo Sandoval reaches beyond the scope of mere effort.

His struggles while in Cuba and since his defection have given him more energy and strength, urging him to accomplish and surpass his childhood dreams. Filled with a virtuoso capability, he desires nothing more than to share his gift with others who feel the same intense adoration for music as he does. One frequently speaks of Arturo Sandoval’s virtuoso technical ability or his specialty in high notes, but he who has seen him on the piano, lyrically improvising a ballad, or has had the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of his music, through his compositions from the most straight ahead jazz, Latin jazz or classical, knows that Arturo Sandoval is a prominent musician, and one recognizes that Arturo is one of the most brilliant, multifaceted and renowned musicians of our time.[2]

Stylistic influences[edit]

Arturo Sandoval performs during a White House reception celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in the East Room on October 12, 2001.

Sandoval's raw talent has led him to associate with many musicians, but the most important is Dizzy Gillespie. Dizzy, who was a longtime proponent of Afro-Cuban music, has been referred to as a type of "spiritual father" by Sandoval. When the two great trumpet players met in 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."


Sandoval’s albums feature over 200 of his own compositions and arrangements, highlights including “A Mis Abuelos”, which received Grammy nominations for “Best instrumental Composition” and “Best Arrangement”. This composition was featured on his Grammy award winning album Danzon. Other highlights from Sandoval’s discography featuring his compositions include: Dear Diz Every Day I Think of You (2012) Live at the Blue Note (2005), Rumba Palace (Grammy 2007) and Hot House(Grammy 1998).

In motion pictures and Television, Sandoval’s compositions and performances can be heard in the film The Mambo Kings which was nominated for a Grammy in 1992 for Best Instrumental Composition written for a Motion Picture or for Television.

Other films include:

(2014) Underdogs

(2013) Christmas in Conway

(2013) At Middleton

(2013) 1000 to 1

(2013) Antebellum(2013) The Resurrection of Malchus

(2013) Tightwire (short film)

(2011) Oscar's Cuba

(2010 documentary ) Sacred Waters

(2001) 61*

For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story (TV movie 2000)

Knockout (Movie2000).

(1996) Mr. Wrong

(1996)The Perez Family

(TV series 1995) Lava Lava!

When HBO Films, developed a movie based on Arturo Sandoval’s life, he was asked to score the entire movie which earned him his first Emmy award. In 1996, Sandoval was commissioned by the Kennedy Center Ballet to score “Pepito’s Story,” a ballet based on the book by Eugene Fern and choreographed by Debbie Allen. Sandoval also composed a classical trumpet concerto that he performed and recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra.



Arturo Sandoval in concert, International Jazz Festival, Prague, Lucerna Music Hall, 1984


  1. ^ "President Obama Names Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients". Office of the Press Secretary, The White House. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Music Hound Jazz ed. Steve Holtje, Music Hound, Nancy Ann Lee - 2001 "Sandoval returned to straight-ahead jazz with Swingin'"

External links[edit]