Happy birthday, Arturo Sandoval!

Happy birthday to one of my very favorite trumpeters, Arturo Sandoval (born in 1949)! 

His birthday falls on a very important election day in the U.S., the country where Sandoval has been a naturalized citizen for twenty years. He defected from Cuba in 1990. Learn about Sandoval’s flight to freedom from his site and the American Sabor site.

Here are three of my favorite pieces featuring the trumpet legend:

“Funky Cha Cha” – A blistering song with extra hot sauce from Michael Brecker

“Angelfire” – This cut from the Rippingtons’ Black Diamond release lets Arturo let loose a bit at the end. You can always count on the man to deliver. And it’s a good Russ Freeman composition and production, easily one of the best “cool fire” tracks in my library.

Leonid and Friends is a collective of Russian musicians who have been doing excellent covers of songs by the band Chicago. One of their latest is “Street Player” which features Arturo maybe sitting in his house, sitting down and still blowing out an incredible solo. He even hits an impossibly high note that I don’t think I’ve ever heard a trumpeter do before.

Lee Ritenour solo guitar recording

Lee Ritenour on stage in 2017; photo by John Hilderbrand

The next Lee Ritenour recording will be solo guitar, the contemporary jazz legend told The Bulletin in October. “I’ve done almost 45 albums (and) never ever done a solo guitar record,” Ritenour said. “I thought it was really overdue, so I’ve been slowly preparing that the last couple (of) years — a lot of new compositions and there’ll be some standards.”

As for Captain Fingers rejoining Fourplay, Rit was elusive when asked about it last year following the death of Chuck Loeb. During audience Q&A before a performance in Kansas City, he didn’t say yes or no. Instead he talked about the magic that happens when the right musicians come together at the right time.

Will Downing and Gerald Albright topped the charts 20 years ago today

Will Downing and Gerald Albright 1998 photo by Eric Johnson

The Will Downing and Gerald Albright collaboration, Pleasures of the Night, was the best-selling contemporary jazz recording according to the October 31, 1998 issue of Billboard. At the time, Downing said, ““This is a departure for us both. It’s pretty much a traditional sounding record with flavorings of contemporary jazz sprinkled in so as not to exclude the audiences we’ve already built up over the years. It gives both of us an opportunity to stretch out more than our own records. It’s not often that you have the opportunity to do exactly what you want to do, no holds barred.”

Here’s the complete Top Contemporary Jazz Albums for that time:

  1. Will Downing and Gerald Albright – Pleasures of the Night
  2. Kenny G – Greatest Hits
  3. Rick Braun – Full Stride
  4. Down to the Bone – From Manhattan to Staten
  5. George Benson – Standing Together
  6. Fourplay – 4
  7. Keiko Matsui – Full Moon and the Shrine
  8. Marc Antoine – Madrid
  9. Various Artists – KKSF Sampler for AIDS Relief, Volume 9
  10. Medeski, Martin and Wood – Combustication

Also of note in that top ten is that the debut recording of Down to the Bone was in its 37th week on the chart.

Chris Botti on recording today

Chris Botti, touring right now, hasn’t put out a recording in six years and has a new deal with Blue Note Records. But he doesn’t appear to view it as a priority, stating that “the record business is over.”

“Unless you’re bubblegum teen pop, it’s over. What’s the point? It’s a very tricky time right now. The record company can’t even keep the lights on. They’re all going out of business. But I’m lucky to have a solid touring career. But next year I’ll make the record, and hopefully people can enjoy it on Spotify, and it’ll be good.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Yellowjackets raising their voice?

Raising Our Voice by Yellowjackets

The new Yellowjackets recording, Raising Our Voice, supposedly is “subtly taking a resistant stand against the status quo of the cultural and political undercurrent of our times.” But I don’t even hear any subtle stand.  No resistance, protest, or even a song title that indicating the current times other than maybe “Strange Times.” It’s the great Yellowjackets sound with Luciana Souza on vocals on most tracks. Just disappointed that they really didn’t say anything.