Friday, March 8, 2013

Artuoro Sandoval's visit.

Last Friday saw a most remarkable occasion when legendary jazz musician Arturo Sandoval visited the Vaughan to work with our Big Band.

Arturo's website describes him as follows:

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 9 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.  His two latest Grammy award winning albums, “Dear Diz “Everyday I think of you” and Tango “Como Yo Te Siento” are now available worldwide. Soon to be released, is a new book chronicling his relationship with Dizzy Gillespie entitled “The Man Who Saved Me”. 

His musicianship, as we all were privileged to witness first hand last Friday, is quite remarkable. His two hour clinic with the Band began with him playing the piano, improvising for quite a time in the most remarkable way. He explained that for all musicians "the piano is the best teacher you will ever have" and advised all the band to get close to the piano and use it to explore music.

When he turned to the trumpet the session really took off and we were all in complete awe of his incredible skill on the instrument. The Band had prepared Arturo's own tune, Closely Dancing, and he demonstrated the melody line and then went on to solo over the band.

Here Arturo's own recording of Closely Dancing, from the Grammy Award winning album, Hot House (which everyone should buy!).

The Band also played his chart called Funky Cha Cha. He was not especially impressed with the arrangement we have (he made this very clear!) and suggested that we play the original (which I have now got hold of).

He took many questions and gave fascinating answers. Inevitably there came the question "how high can you play?". He said that he wasn't sure, it varied from day to day, and said let's see. He then played a scale that went up to triple c - virtually the highest note on the piano!

He then said "It's not how high you can play, or how fast you can play, its how pretty you can play that matters" and proceeded to give an unforgettable rendition of 'Smoke Gets in your Eyes".

This was a wonderful couple of hours for us all with many highlights - not least the hard time he gave some people, especially when they had to leave! One of the greatest moments was the jam that he had with Patrick, our drummer. It was a real privilege to spend time in the company of this great man.

A further treat was to follow that evening when, at Ronnie Scott's, at the end of his appearance there, he thanked the Band and said how much he had enjoyed visiting the school that day. What a day! And lovely to be able to share it with some of the instrumental staff too.

Thank you, Arturo for coming to the Vaughan - it will live long in the memories of all of us.


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