Tag Archives: Be-Bop

Arturo Sandoval: Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You)


Last summer I saw Arturo Sandoval live in Fribourg (to be precise on July 9, 2013). We heard many tunes from the CD “Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You)” and this concert was quite remarkable, because Arturo Sandoval was the jack-of-all-trades on stage, he was basically everywhere, playing his trumpet, he sang, played the piano and the timbales. But behind all this activities it was also possible to feel his deep reverence for Dizzy Gillespie, his friend and mentor. I bought the CD and it turned out to be one of my favorite CDs of last summer.

The music of Arturo Sandoval is full of energy, very rhythmic, inspired by his Cuban roots, perfectly arranged and excellently played. Arturo Sandoval is supported by many famous musicians like Gary Burton on vibraphone, Bob Mintzer on saxophone and organist Joey DeFrancesco. The result is a remarkable reminiscence to Dizzy Gillespie and his music and gives the “old” tunes a fresh new look and Arturo Sandoval’s trumpet is shining and sparkling above all.

The CD starts with the excellently swinging “Be Bop” and a groovy Salsa inspired version of “Salt Peanuts”, followed by the “Pink Panther – Henry Mancini” style arranged version of “Birks Works”. After that the CD reaches it’s first highlight with “Things To Come” which is really fast and furious.

We get a little bit of a break afterwards with the string quartet plus trumpet arrangement of “Con Alma” before the “must” tune “A Night in Tunisia” ends the regular part of the CD. If you haven’t seen Arturo Sandoval playing this tune I have added a video for you, since this was also during the concert the best moment. And I guess this is perfectly in line with the way Dizzy Gillespie would understand how to play this song. You’re not allowed to rest, you have to be brilliant and steal the show with this tune. 

The CD ends with the title song. In “Every Day I Think of You” you feel that Arturo Sandoval really misses Dizzy Gillespie, his long-time friend and mentor, the person who basically gave him a second chance in life after leaving Cuba.

If you want to know more about that special relationship you might also take a look at the 2001 movie “For Love or Country” (starring Andy Garcia, Mia Maestro and Gloria Estefan).

I think this CD is perfectly arranged and show that the music of Dizzy Gillespie and Be Bop in general have not added any rust, it is still the style we associate typically with Jazz music, and Arturo Sandoval is the true heir.

The first video shows you a live version of “Night in Tunisia”:

The second video includes some interesting promotional material from Concord Records:

Finally, a link to the album if you want to hear some more…


“Epistrophy” is a standard composed by pianist Thelonious Monk and drummer Kenny Clarke in 1942. Both were at that time in the house band at Minton’s Playhouse, where the famous jam sessions took place that led to the development of Be-Bop.

Monk was well-known of his unorthodox style to play the piano (which you can see very well in video added in this blog) and his unique composition style. He wrote songs like “Round Midnight”, “Well, You Needn’t”, “Blue Monk” or “Straight, No Chaser”. All these songs are either blues tunes or very bluesy oriented and the melody is using many chromatic elements.

“Epistrophy” is no exception here. The tune is based on a 32-bar ABCB form (or AA’BA’ since the second 8 bars of the melody are similar to first eight bars, just one whole step higher played).

The style of the composition is like an invitation to very experimental and vanguard interpretation of the tune and I would like to introduce here some of these interpretations.

  1. Let’s start with Monk himself: There is a nice live recording with John Coltrane on saxophone and Monk on piano from November 29, 1957. This recording is itself famous since it was accidentally discovered and released in 2005.
  2. The next version I have for you is from the trumpet player Alex Sipiagin recorded in 2009 with a nice line-up (Chris Potter on saxophone and Dave Kikoski on piano). This is a very modern way to play the tune, also rhythmically very interesting.
  3. Another Coltrane-version (this time from Ravi Coltrane also from 2009) shows us how to play this tune in a faster tempo than what we have heard before. The excellent drummer on this recording is E.J. Strickland who was leading the drums workshop in Langnau in 2012.
  4. The next recording I chose is from Elliot Sharp (or E#) from 2006 and shows the experimental and vanguard side of Monks tune.
  5. Finally I have a Chaka Khan medley of famous Be-Bop tunes found on the 1982 album “Chaka Khan” where the following standards are put together into one funky (and Grammy awarded) medley: Hot House – East of Suez (Come On Sailor) – Epistrophy (I Wanna Play) – Yardbird Suite – Con Alma – Giant Steps.

I have again prepared a playlist, so you can listen yourself to the different interpretations.

Finally I found a video showing Monk playing his composition