Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval has always loved the bebop métier, tossing his aesthetic headlong in the directions of the masters Parker and Gillespie, but now he’s brought in a roster of singers to create something of a crossover disc. Prince Royce hits leadoff on a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing,” which crosses a Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” vibe with incisive guitar licks that give the track a necessary tartness. There’s a lot of sheen in the production, almost like elevator Muzak, but with chops backing the salsafied passacaglias.
“Granada” boasts a Placido Domingo vocal, and it’s a prime example of jazz’s flexibility, both within the context of a given work—for Sandoval’s horn seems to both accompany and lead at once—and in how readily it pairs with a musical form (opera) we normally think of as far afield. Then we come to the cover of ABBA’s “Andante, Andante,” with the Swedish quartet’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad herself turning up in what doubles as a karaoke singer’s dream: the real-deal singer knocking back and having venturesome fun on her own well-loved number. The Al Jarreau cut, “After All,” lends stately—not somber—grace, the late singer’s accrued wisdom giving the song, and the album, the allure, and encouragement of a well-timed wink.Originally Published