Arturo Sandoval

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Arturo Sandoval
Sandoval performing in 2008
Sandoval performing in 2008
Background information
Born6 November 1949 (Age 70)
Artemisa, Cuba
GenresJazz, Latin Jazz, Afro-Cuban
InstrumentsTrumpet, Piano, Timbales
Years active1977–present
Associated actsIrakere, Dizzy Gillespie, GRP All-Star Big Band
Sandoval playing the timbales

Arturo Sandoval is a Cuban-American jazz trumpeter, pianist, and composer.

Sandoval, while living in his native Cuba, was influenced by jazz musicians Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and Dizzy Gillespie, finally meeting Gillespie later in 1977. Gillespie became a mentor and colleague, playing with Sandoval in concerts in Europe and Cuba and later featuring him in the United Nations Orchestra. Sandoval defected while touring with Gillespie in 1990, and he became an American naturalized citizen in 1998.

His life was the subject of the film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story (2000), starring Andy García. Sandoval has won ten Grammy Awards and been nominated nineteen times; he has also received six Billboard Awards and one Emmy Award. Additionally, Sandoval has performed in a Super Bowl Halftime Show (1995)[1], in an Orange Bowl (2009)[2], at the White House[3], and at the University of Notre Dame.[4]

On November 20, 2013, President Barack Obama presented Sandoval with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[5]

Life and career[edit]

Sandoval was born in Artemisa. As a twelve-year-old boy in Cuba, Sandoval played trumpet with street musicians. He helped establish the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, which became the band Irakere in 1973. He toured worldwide with his own group in 1981. The following year he toured with Dizzy Gillespie, who became his friend and mentor. From 1982 to 1984, Sandoval was voted as Cuba's Best Instrumentalist and was a guest artist at the BBC and Leningrad Symphony Orchestras.[6] In 1989, Gillespie invited Sandoval to be part of the United Nations Orchestra. During a tour with this group, Sandoval visited the American Embassy in Rome to defect from Cuba. He became an American citizen on December 7, 1998.[7]

Sandoval has performed Latin jazz with Paquito D'Rivera, Tito Puente, and Chico O'Farrill, Cuban music in Miami, and classical music in England and Germany. In the 1990s, he was a member of the GRP All-Star Big Band.[7]

Sandoval's song "A Mis Abuelos" (To My Grandparents) received Grammy Award nominations for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Arrangement. This composition was featured on his Grammy-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).[8]

In 2014, Sandoval had performed at Eastman Theatre along with Zane Musa, Dave Siegel, Teymur Phel, Johnny Friday, and Armando Arce.[9]

His 2018 album Ultimate Duets features a self-titled collaboration with Pharrell Williams and Ariana Grande.[10]

He currently resides in Miami, Florida,[6] where he is a professor at the Florida International University and a visiting professor to the Whitworth University where he is in charge of its Jazz Ensemble.[11] Prior to his appointment, he was performing worldwide with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony and National Symphony Orchestras.[6]

Films and television[edit]

Sandoval in the East Room of the White House, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, October 12, 2001

When HBO Films developed a film based on Sandoval's life, he was asked to score the movie, which earned him his first Emmy award.[12] 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.[6]

Sandoval's compositions and performances can be heard in The Mambo Kings, which was nominated for a Grammy in 1992 for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television.[8]

A 2017 television commercial for the Apple iPhone 7 called "Dive"[13] features Sandoval's "La Virgen de la Macarena".

Arturo Sandoval has acted in For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story. He has composed music for the films The Mule, Richard Jewell, A Middleton, The Perez Family, 1000 to 1, For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story, and Underdog Kids.

Other work[edit]

In 2015, Arturo Sandoval joined the 14th annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to assist independent musicians' careers.[14] He was also a judge for the 10th,[15] 12th[16] and 13th Independent Music Awards.[17]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

Arturo Sandoval at the International Jazz Festival, Prague, Lucerna Music Hall, 1984

With Gloria Estefan

  • 1991 Into the Light
  • 1993 Mí Tierra

With the GRP All-Star Big Band

With Dave Grusin

  • 1994 The Orchestral Album
  • 1997 West Side Story
  • 1999 Random Hearts
  • 2010 An Evening with Dave Grusin

With Ed Calle

  • 1996 Double Talk
  • 1999 Sunset Harbor
  • 2001 Twilight

With others


  • 1987: A Night in Havana: Dizzy Gillespie in Cuba
  • 1990: Dizzy Gillespie and the United Nations Orchestra
  • 1993: GRP All-Star Big Band Live[7]
  • 1995: Lava Lava!
  • 1996: Mr. Wrong
  • 1996: The Perez Family
  • 2000: For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story
  • 2000: Knockout
  • 2001: 61*
  • 2010: Sacred Waters
  • 2011: Oscar's Cuba
  • 2013: 1000 to 1
  • 2013: Antebellum
  • 2013: At Middleton
  • 2013: Christmas in Conway
  • 2013: The Resurrection of Malchus
  • 2013: Tightwire
  • 2015: Underdog Kids
  • 2018: The Mule
  • 2019: Richard Jewell


  1. ^ Clary, Mike (April 23, 1997). "Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval Is Denied U.S. Citizenship". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035.
  2. ^ SMS PTY (January 1, 2009), Arturo Sandoval Orange Bowl 2009, YouTube, retrieved April 29, 2019
  3. ^ "A Castro critic was playing Scullers when he learned of the former Cuban leader's death - The Boston Globe". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  4. ^ "Arturo Sandoval returns to Notre Dame for concert, halftime performance in support of Christmas album". Notre Dame News. University of Notre Dame. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  5. ^ "Arturo Sandoval receives Presidential Medal of Freedom". International Trumpet Guild. International Trumpet Guild. January 29, 2020. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d Nicole Cavazos (March 27, 2001). "Legendary Cuban Jazz Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, Acclaimed Puerto Rican Saxophonist David Sanchez Perform at UCLA's Royce Hall April 22". UCLA. Retrieved April 29, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b c Diaz Ayala, Cristóbal; Kernfeld, Barry (2002). Kernfeld, Barry (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 3 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 499. ISBN 1-56159-284-6.
  8. ^ a b "Arturo Sandoval". Grammys. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  9. ^ Kelly Mullaney (October 28, 2014). "Grammy Winner and Cuban Jazz Legend Arturo Sandoval comes to Rochester". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  10. ^ Helman, Peter (May 4, 2018). "Arturo Sandoval & Pharrell Williams – "Arturo Sandoval" (Feat. Ariana Grande)". Stereogum. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  11. ^ "Guest Artist: Arturo Sandoval". Whitworth University. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  12. ^ "For Love Or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story". Emmys. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  13. ^ "iPhone 7 – Dive – Apple [HD]". YouTube. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  14. ^ "The 14th Annual Independent Music Awards Winners Announced". Independent Music Awards. July 16, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  15. ^ "The 10th Annual Independent Music Awards Winners Announced". Independent Music Awards. February 16, 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  16. ^ "The 12th Annual Independent Music Awards Winners Announced". Independent Music Awards. March 19, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  17. ^ "The 13th Annual Independent Music Awards Winners Announced". Independent Music Awards. March 17, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  18. ^ Music Hound Jazz ed. Steve Holtje, Music Hound, Nancy Ann Lee: 2001 "Sandoval returned to straight-ahead jazz with Swingin'"
  19. ^ "Arturo Sandoval | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Arturo Sandoval | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 January 2017.

External links[edit]