November 12, 2004


Cuba's free spirit: ARTURO SANDOVAL'S ECLECTIC TRUMPET EMBRACES JAZZ, LATIN, R&B AND POP (Buddy Seigal, 11/12/04, Mercury News)

Arturo Sandoval is one intense musician. In his work, conversation and life, the ferociously gifted trumpeter is a personification of the ardent artist. His music can be breathtaking, feral, seemingly super-human.

One root of Sandoval's intensity is his upbringing in Fidel Castro's Cuba. A free spirit long restrained under a dictatorship, he felt stifled and frustrated both personally and musically.

Mentored by the bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, whose furious, upper-register blowing Sandoval absorbed, the Cuban musician defected to the United States with Gillespie's aid in 1990. His liberation has been bittersweet, though.

``I suffered in my homeland under dictatorship, and they'' -- the people of Cuba -- ``still suffer for 46 years now,'' Sandoval, 55, says. ``I still have a lot of relatives there. It's a beautiful country with the wrong government. The people deserve something better than they have now. They're starving, and worse than that, they're hopeless.''

Sandoval's struggles and triumphs were documented in the 2000 HBO film ``For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story,'' starring Andy Garcia.

``It's difficult to put 50 years into two hours, but I think they did a great job,'' Sandoval says. ```Everybody has a story to tell. HBO decided to share my story with the people, and that's a great privilege for me and my family, you know? It's going to be there for generations to come. My great-grandchildren will have an idea how we got here, the whole process.''

It's a terrific flick.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 12, 2004 12:59 PM
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