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Arturo Sandoval: My Passion for the Piano

He may be one of jazz’s most eminent trumpeters, but on his latest disc, My Passion for the Piano, Arturo Sandoval demonstrates his proficiency on a very different instrument. A lifelong devotee of the piano (and the proud owner of a Bosendorfer with 10 extra keys that was originally custom-made for Oscar Peterson), Sandoval has long included piano performances during his concerts, but My Passion for the Piano represents his first all-piano recording.

The album title is apt: Sandoval’s delight in playing the piano is nearly palpable, and his enthusiasm infuses the entire recording. Given his well-known technical prowess on the trumpet, it’s not surprising that Sandoval displays ample technique and fire on the piano as well. He can be a very showy player, swooping up and down the keyboard with fleet-fingered dexterity, as he does on several tracks, including his exuberant take on “All the Things You Are,” a Latin-flavored “Stella by Starlight” and the infectious dance number “Surena.” But My Passion for the Piano is not all about keyboard pyrotechnics; Sandoval can also make the piano sing with simple, heartfelt lyricism, as on the gorgeous ballad “Marianela Says Goodbye,” a composition written for his wife that originally appeared in the HBO film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story. Sandoval’s fine backup musicians include bassist Dennis Marks-who composed two tunes featured on the album-drummer Ernesto Simpson and two well-utilized guest artists, saxophonist Ed Calle and percussionist Samuel Torres.

Originally Published