Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval at the Annenberg Center
Arturo Sandoval | photo courtesy of Ted Kurland Associates

Cuban trumpet legend Arturo Sandoval recently hit retirement age, but he shows no signs of slowing down. Just ten days after celebrating his 65th birthday, Sandoval will lead his quintet at the Annenberg Center on Sunday, November 16th.

By the time he was born in 1949, the musical exchange between Cuba and the U.S. was well underway, inaugurated in large part by Dizzy Gillespie, who would go on to be a major mentor for Sandoval. Gillespie not only hired the younger trumpeter for his goodwill-generating United Nations Orchestra, but facilitated his defection to the States during a 1990 tour. But Sandoval made his own innovations away from Gillespie’s influence, co-founding the groundbreaking Cuban-jazz-rock fusion group Irakere and working with a who’s-who of American jazz greats. (That story was told in a 2000 TV movie that starred Andy García as Sandoval.)

In 2013, Sandoval was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, adding that Obama-granted honor to a host of Grammys and other awards. The twin polestars of his homeland and his relationship with Gillespie remain the core of Sandoval’s sound today, so audiences at Sunday’s performance can expect a an explosion of bebop-tinged Afro-Cuban jazz with a veneer of classical polish.

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