In July 1990, after playing trumpet in his native Cuba for 28 of his 41 years, Arturo Sandoval had the opportunity to defect from Cuba along with his family. A brilliant virtuoso, Sandoval finally was able to play whatever music he wanted without having to satisfy a dictator, and his potential was enormous. On his American debut, Sandoval mostly performs boppish jazz (other than the dull "Marianela") with slight touches of rock and spiced with Latin percussion. The trumpeter shows restraint on the ballads (including a tasty "Body and Soul") and displays plenty of fire on the often-funky uptempo romps, not overdoing the effortless high notes. With the assistance of the high-powered tenor of Ed Calle, the versatile guitarist Rene Luis Toledo, and a variety of talented sidemen (including guest Chick Corea on three songs), Arturo Sandoval's long overdue debut is well-rounded, exciting, and highlighted by a fast rendition of Dizzy Gillespie's "Tanga."
Flight to Freedom Review
by Scott Yanow