Cuban Trombonist Eduardo Sandoval’s New Album

By Maya Quiroga

Eduardo Sandoval

HAVANA TIMES — Young Eduardo Sandoval considers himself the heir of Cuban trombonist Juan Pablo Torres, who passed away in 2005 at 58. When Eduardo speaks of the late musician, his eyes light up in a very special way.

The work of Juan Pablo Torres was actually one of the sources of inspiration for Eduardo’s first album, titled Caminos abiertos (“Open Roads”). A graduate of Cuba’s Higher Institute for the Arts (ISA), Sandovar included the piece Rumba de cajon (“Box Rumba”), written by Juan Pablo shortly before his death, in the album.

Sandoval’s album, which includes new pieces, most of them written by this musician, who has had the opportunity to record albums next to Los Van Van, Beatriz Marquez, Omara Portuondo and others, was produced by Michel Herrera.

Musicologist Brenda Besada Rodriguez, who wrote the album’s introductory text, had this to say about the work:

Caminos abiertos is an album with a unique style that stands out among other jazz albums produced in Cuba. On the one hand, Eduardo’s personal aesthetic has singular impact, and we enjoy it as much as his good judgment in his selection of pieces by other composers. To surround himself with musicians who convey different musical imaginaries is, in fact, one of the decisions that gives this album its key musical seal.”

On Caminos abiertos, Sandoval has achieved a highly interesting fusion with the works of musicians who accompany him regularly in his band, Habana Jazz: pianist Roger Rizo, drummer Alain Ladron de Guevara, Rafael Aldama (bass) and percussionists Eduardo Silveira and David Hernandez.

“I have a special guest: Beatriz Marquez, National Music Award laureate, who regaled us with a stunning version of the piece Vieja Luna (“Old Moon”). Emilio Frias, one of the young voices of popular Cuban music that’s giving critics plenty to talk about, Adonis Panter and the rumba band Osain del Monte (at drums and choir), were also involved in the production of the album. So were the excellent pianists Alejandro Falcon and Rolando Luna, Michel Herrera (saxophone) and Thommy Lowry (trumpet).”

Despedida (“Farewell”), a piece by pianist and arranger Miguelito Nuñez, was the result of a tour where Sandoval accompanies music director Pablo Milanes. Caminos abiertos, which gave the album its title, is an eminently Cuban piece.

“If I have the fortune of recording other albums, I will always try to pay tribute to traditional Cuban music,” the trombonist said, claiming he has been drawn to the instrument since he was just a kid.

Afro en casa (“Afro at Home”) attests to his religious beliefs. “I am a Yoruba practitioner and composed this piece as a homage to our ancestors, who are with us.”

With the debut of his album, Sandoval begins to open doors in Cuba’s music industry.

“I’m very happy with my first album. I am very grateful to the board of the Hermanos Saiz Association (AIS), who were the locomotive in this. I also want to thank the AHS Reino de Este Mundo scholarship, which afforded me my first budget for the album.”

“When I was at the recording phase, the label EGREM became interested in my music and decided to sponsor the album. I can proudly say I am the second trombonist in Cuba that EGREM recorded an album for. The other was Juan Pablo Torres,” concluded Sandoval, who is beginning to set himself apart from his generation with this album.

In effect, jazz is a genre that hasn’t been promoted much by EGREM. Now, with new albums by Zule Guerra, Cesar Lopez and Eduardo Sandoval, the label begins to diversify its music catalogue.

Eduardo Sandoval and his band from a 2014 concert in Havana.