Arturo Sandoval Swings

Last night, we went to the Valley Performing Arts Center to see Arturo Sandoval. This was not a concert we had planned: our accountant has a season subscription, and had something else to go to that night. He asked us if we wanted to buy the tickets off of him. As Arturo Sandoval does Jazz, and my wife loves Jazz, I said yes.

Going into the show, all I know about Sandoval was the description on the VPAC website: “Arturo Sandoval is fluent in at least four musical languages. He can soothe you with a luscious ballad, burn through an Afro-Cuban groove, tear up a bebop tune, and soar over a Mozart concerto, with equal power and grace. Sandoval has been honored with four Grammy Awards, six Billboard Awards and an Emmy Award, the latter for composing the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, For Love or Country starring Andy Garcia. He is one of the most dynamic and vivacious live performers of our time, and was recently seen by millions during the Grammy Awards performing with pop phenomenon Justin Timberlake. He also performed during the Latin Billboard Awards with the gifted Alicia Keys, where he was awarded his sixth Billboard Award for best latin jazz album.”

What we got was a full-on classic Jazz concert. Sandoval was supported by three trumpt players, a trombone player, three sax players, numerous percussionists (including Andy Garcia), a guitar, a bass, a piano, a lead singer, and three backup singers. Sandoval started with a full-on scat number, proceeded to do a piano number, and then followed it up with a number of Dizzy Gillespie style numbers and latin numbers. He was thoroughly entertaining, and did things with a trumpet—music-wise—that we’ve never seen before (including both incredibly low notes and incredibily high notes). He also took care to showcase each and every member of the band, letting them soar and improvise. It was clear they were having fun up there, and they turned the audience into converts.

If there was a sad-note, it was the fact that the audience was not sold out (in fact, it looked like a number left during intermission). That’s sad. Perhaps it is because this is just VPAC’s first full season, and people aren’t used to culture in the main parts of the valley yet. Perhaps it is the economy, although tickets to shows such as this (especially for the balcony) are pretty reasonably priced (as low as $25/seat). I’m surprised they aren’t putting tickets up on Goldstar to help fill and promote the house. At this point, I’ll write it off to their being the new kids on the block; hopefully attendance will pick up.

We did our part: We purchased our tickets for Bernadette Peters, who has rescheduled her October concert for March 3.

Upcoming Theatre, Concerts, and Dance: As you can see from the above, sometimes shows come up unexpectedly. Looking to the remainder of 2012, here’s how the theatre and concert calendar looks. Next weekend, we venture to the Third Street Theatre to see their first production, “Falsettos. The following weekend sees us back at the REP for “Laughter on the 23rd Floor on September 24. We then enter October, which starts with “Shooting Star” at the Colony Theatre on October 1. The following Saturday is taken with Yom Kippur, but we might do something on Sunday, 10/9. The following weekend is open, but I’ve got some shows in mind (such as Boomermania, if they extend…. or this is the opening Saturday of Robber Bridegroom). The third weekend of October brings “Annie” at Cabrillo Music Theatre on October 22. The last weekend is open, although Sunday is being held for “Come Fly Away” at the Pantages (pending ticketing). November will start with The Robber Bridegroom” at ICT (pending ticketing). It will also bring “Day Out With Thomas” at Orange Empire (We’re working Veterans Day, but we’re not sure about the weekend yet). It may also bring “Riverdance” at the Pantages (held for November 20, pending ticketing), and “Bring It On” at the Ahmanson (held for November 25, pending ticketing, hottix on sale October 4). Thanksgiving weekend also brings the last show of the REP season, “The Graduate”, on Saturday November 26. The first weekend of December is lost preparing for ACSAC, although I might squeeze in something on Saturday. The next weekend is busy, with a Mens Club Shabbat in the morning, and Travels with my Aunt” at the Colony Theatre in the evening. The remainder of December is unscheduled, but I’m sure we’ll fill things in for Winter Break. Of course, there is the de rigueur movie and Chinese food on Christmas day. As always, open dates are subject to be filled in with productions that have yet to appear on the RADAR of Goldstar or LA Stage Alliance.