Love Letter to Dizzy


Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You) is Arturo Sandoval's second album for Concord Jazz, but it honors his first musical love: Friend and mentor Dizzy Gillespie, who helped lift Sandoval from behind the Cuban curtain, first as featured soloist in Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra and ultimately as a brilliant solo artist. (Student and senior share the frontline, with a Finnish rhythm section, on To A Finland Station [Original Jazz Classics, 1992].)

Dear Diz orchestrates Gillespie classics with large ensembles that showcase the full expanse of Gillespie's brilliant musicality and the acolyte's flame from Sandoval's blazing trumpet. The Spanish subtitle given to "Salt Peanuts (Mani Salado)!" speaks to the hot Afro-Cuban rhythms that roast its arrangement and stoke several other highlights: "Tin Tin Deo" swaggers with lusty Latin jazz brilliance, its bustling bassline and cowbell insistently tugging the rhythm onward. "Fiesta Mojo" simmers more than boils, with a cool muted jazz edge that tempers the kinetic heat of its Afro-Cuban rhythm. Two guest saxophonists inspire a frantic tempo in "Things To Come," and their trading fours with the drummer while Sandoval swaps same with organist Joey DeFranceso sounds particularly caliente!

But nothing tops Sandoval's trumpet bonfire, which lights up "A Night in Tunisia." He first languishes over the melody, stretching it out in new directions, then ends with notes that flame so high that angels named Gabriel and Gillespie but precious few mortals can play them on the trumpet!