“God bless your heart! Your chart is a masterpiece!”

By October 24, 2013No Comments

These are the words written to me by the incomparable, world-renowned trumpet player Arturo Sandoval ( following my recording session for his upcoming CD “Dizzyland”, a tribute to Arturo’s friend and colleague Dizzy Gillespie.

It all started this past Monday with a call from Gregg Field, who had been the drummer on my Grammy winning NatalieCole sessions.  Wearing his other hat as a producer for Concord Records, Gregg had been looking for an opportunity to work with me, and this was it:  He needed an arrangement of “Con Alma.”   But what pressure!   It had to be done in 3 days, and the song, recorded numerous times as an uptempo jazz tune, was to be written as a ballad for a string quartet.

Immediately challenged, I began right away, knowing that my writing had to be fresh and unique, but also indigenous to the string quartet ensemble.  By that I mean:  every note counts, and each player has to have interesting lines to play.  I worked this out the old fashioned way, with pencil and paper.

Finally, with the hard part completed, the fun began.  I met Arturo at the session for the first time, and he couldn’t have been warmer or more down-to-earth.  Conducting the strings with the Arturo Sandoval playing his trumpet behind me, following my baton, was a thrill I won’t forget.  The track came out great, thanks to everyone’s exceptional musicianship, all recorded by esteemed engineer Don Murray. I’m so grateful to have gotten the chance to work on such a prestigious project, andI’m hoping it’s the beginning of many more collaborations with everyone involved. – See more at: