Arturo Sandoval Shines a Legendary Light

By Christina E. Rodriguez

The high jazzy squeal of the trumpet could be heard through the doors of the closed off venue and over the sound of commercial music playing in the lounge section of Viper Alley in Lincolnshire last Thursday night. Arturo Sandoval, living legend and trumpeter extraordinaire, played in the intimate venue to some 350 people from all over Chicago and the North Shore, as rain and lightning came down outside. 

The music drew an audience from all different backgrounds to take a listen to the living legend, as some call him, who defected from Cuba 21 years ago to make a life in the United States where he was granted political asylum and eventually American citizenship in 1999. According to his website, Sandoval has won four Grammys, six Billboard awards and an Emmy, and is fluent in four musical languages. In addition, he was known as a protégé of Dizzy Gillespie and has grown into one of the world’s most renowned musicians of the jazz trumpet and flugel horn, and recognized among the best artists, pianists and composers.

Taking breaks from the trumpet to play the piano, Sandoval engaged the audience by telling stories, singing Smile and vocally improvising his own scat singing to add to the energy of the music. The Cuban artist moved around the stage directing his band that consisted of a pianist, saxophonist, drummer and bassist, having fun during the entire show and more often than not, making the audience laugh.

Over the approximately two-hour show, the audience clapped, whistled and thoroughly enjoyed the energy that Sandoval put into his solos and songs.  Those who had never heard of him decided to take a chance on the event, finding that they were exceptionally satisfied with the show. Jazz lovers came through to find exactly what they expected while others came to find a paisano playing music in own their backyard. Coming from just down the street or making the trek from Chicago, the rain couldn’t keep these music lovers away from seeing a legend in action; and that’s exactly what they got.

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