Arturo Sandoval will be honored this year with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours,” said President Obama in a statement. “This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”
Words of gratitude from Arturo:
“Without freedom, there is no life. I had the distinct honor of having experienced not only liberty, but also a rebirth, the day I landed on U.S. soil, knowing that I was finally free from suffering in a regime which has no respect for human rights.
Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom is an immense honor for me, and I corroborate that I feel blessed to live in this wonderful nation that I love.
I would like to pay my deepest respect and gratitude to the President of the United States for such a distinct and incredible honor. I am also extremely humble to be in the company of such remarkable and extraordinary honorees.
Since coming to this country I have humbly received countless demonstrations of admiration and respect for my work, to which I am forever grateful. Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom has not only brought me tremendous happiness, but more so, a renewed obligation, motivation and propulsion, to continue to work as hard as I ever have, with further commitment to serve this great nation, a nation that welcomed me with opened arms, embraced me and ultimately adopted me.
Once again, I’ll fill my lungs, and scream from the bottom of my heart louder than ever,'God Bless America'!”
A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval was born in Artemisa, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, on November 6, 1949, just two years after Gillespie became the first musician to bring Latin influences into American Jazz. Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of twelve, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He has since evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer.
Sandoval has 9 Grammy Awards, and has been nominated 17 times; he has also received 6 Billboard Awards, and an Emmy Award for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life, “For Love or Country” starring Andy Garcia. His two latest Grammy award-winning albums, “Dear Diz “Everyday I think of you” and Tango “Como Yo Te Siento” are now available worldwide. Soon to be released is a new book chronicling his relationship with Dizzy Gillespie entitled “The Man Who Saved Me”.
Sandoval is also a KPLU listener favorite, and his live KPLU Studio Session from 2012 is a gem:
Listen for award-winning Latin Jazz artists on Jazz Caliente, Thursdays at 2 p.m. on KPLU's Midday Jazz!