Arturo Sandoval [1949- ]

Born in the small town of Aremisa, Cuba, Arturo Sandoval was the son of an auto mechanic, and he began playing trumpet at age 11. Three years later in 1964, he was accepted to study classical trumpet at the National School of Art in Havana. After studying for three years with a Russian teacher, he became a member of the big band, Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, but his music career was interrupted when he served three years in the Cuban army. 

After he was discharged, Sandoval chose not to return to the Orquesta and instead formed a smaller band, Irakere, blending Afro-Cuban jazz and rock. The band toured extensively, playing at Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival among other venues.

In 1977 Sandoval met his musical idol, Dizzy Gillespie, when the Cubop pioneer visited Havana. The two became friends and Gillespie featured Sandoval in his United Nations Orchestra. Sandoval left Irakere in 1981 and formed his own band, continuing to tour and record, but he chafed at the restrictions placed on him by the Castro government. However, it wasn’t until 1990 during a European tour that Sandoval defected at the American embassy in Rome, Italy, and eventually settled in Miami with his wife and son.

Since 1982, Sandoval has released more than 20 albums, most recently A Time for Love (2010).

As a trumpet player, Sandoval is admired for his masterful technique and ability to play in the instrument’s highest register, as well as his bop-infused style while never hesitating to tackle a broad range of genres, from classical to jazz to pop.

Arturo Sandoval