Cuban emigré Arturo Sandoval flexes his multi-instrumental muscle on this exhilarating concert DVD filmed in June 2007 at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. Switching nimbly from his signature high-note, circular-breathing trumpet work to keyboards to timbales, along with some audacious scatting in the tradition of his trumpet heroes Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry, the charismatic Sandoval entertains the packed house at the Power Center for the Performing Arts while wowing them with considerable technique on all axes.
Backed by a group of fiery Cuban musicians (and American pianist Dave Siegel, who grew up with the soulful feel of son montuno in the Havana suburb of Miami), Sandoval covers a wide range of material throughout his set, from an intimate piano-trumpet duet with Siegel on “My Foolish Heart” to an extroverted showcase of chops on the aptly named “Having Fun.” Switching to piano, he turns in a stirring “Sureña,” accompanied only by Tomas Cruz on maracas, while on the uptempo burner “Eastern Blues/Blues for Diz” he unleashes that potent, crowd-pleasing combination of bop-fueled scatting and peerless trumpet flights. He alternates between trumpet, piano, flugelhorn and timbales on “Rhythm of Our World,” a Sandoval original that showcases the brilliant Brecker-ish tenor playing of Felipe Langolia. And Arturo unveils some serious piano work on the swinging “Oscar,” a new composition (presumably) dedicated to Oscar Peterson, who passed away six months after this concert.
On the encore, “Eso Es Lo Que Hay,” the ever-youthful Arturo and his young sidemen engage the audience in some Spanish rapping over a funky vamp. For pure entertainment, it’s hard to beat this ebullient Cuban.