Arturo Sandoval, "A Time for Love"

Trumpets blare, but they can also hush. That's the revelation in Arturo Sandoval's lush, strings-graced new album, "A Time for Love," a dinner-jazz gem that could be the zenith of his 20-plus-year recording career. An Afro-Cuban bebopper at heart whose torrid trumpet runs have been his signature, Sandoval changes course here to deliver long-toned lyrical ballads with a string orchestral backdrop and a fine quartet. He interprets several standards, including the Mandel-Mercer beauty "Emily" and Cole Porter's classic "Every Time We Say Goodbye" (featuring a soulful accompaniment by pianist Kenny Barron). But what differentiates Sandoval's excursion into reflective, slow-song territory from most other orchestral jazz projects is his expanded repertoire scope. With help from vocalist Monica Mancini, he gently colors Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla's "Oblivion" and gorgeously delves into two classical pieces, one of them being Maurice Ravel's "Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte," originally composed for two hand-horns. To be faithful to the composer's vision, Sandoval enlists simpatico trumpeter Chris Botti--a smart move, given the latter's romanticism. --Dan Ouellette

- Album Review