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May 29, 1994|LEONARD FEATHER

ARTURO SANDOVAL

"Danzon"

GRP

* * * 1/2

In an intriguing change of stylistic pace, the Cuban virtuoso digs in his roots for an album that is strongly orchestral, though his solos are numerous and brilliant.

Everything from his early days is here--rumba, conga, cha-cha, bolero, Afro-Cuban and Spanish and carnival sounds--mainly composed by Sandoval, with percussion galore and such guest soloists as Dave Valentin, Vikki Carr and even, briefly, Bill Cosby. Note particularly the echoes of pre-Castro Cuba in "Suavito" and Sandoval's just-for-kicks scat vocal on his tribute to Dizzy Gillespie in Gillespie's perennial "Groovin' High."

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good, recommended), four stars (excellent).

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