Live at the Blue Note is really a two-fer since it has a CD and a DVD of the same performance. Arturo Sandoval, one of the great trumpeters, leads his high-powered septet on a variety of diverse material. The uptempo bop original "The Real McBop" introduces the audience to the strong solo playing of pianist Phil Magallanes, tenor saxophonist Felipe Lamoglia, Sandoval, and guitarist Rene Toledo. Other than a rapid section near its conclusion, "Eso Es lo Que Hay" is a throwaway funk tune that features call-and-response singing/chanting. "Eastern Blues" and "Blues for Diz" together form a long and continuous segment that, after the solos, features Sandoval showing off his virtuoso scatting; unfortunately it all goes on too long. Sandoval switches to piano for his ballad "A Lovely One" and "Surena," which has some rich Cuban melodies before becoming "All the Things You Are." Sandoval plays muted trumpet on the forgettable R&B ballad "If I Ain't Got You" and finally sings and indulges in some heated playing during the overlong "Rhythm of Our World," which gets the audience dancing. The DVD is better than the CD because the visual aspect adds to the music and there are a few short interviews included as bonus material. But overall this is an erratic set, falling short of being one of Sandoval's more significant releases.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow