Bob Sand´s Big Band Performs at Madrid´s Cafe Berlin
New Yorker Bob Sands came to Europe 11 years ago with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and decided to stay to broaden his horizons He was young and qualified having graduated from Eastman with a degree in Classical Saxophone and did his graduate work the The Manhattan School of Music studying Jazz. He originally planned to base in Paris. But after a gig in Madrid he stayed and made a life there. The first few years were spent in Cultural transition as his brash New York personality clashed with the Latino rhythms. He said the first few years were spent hearing "Tranquilo" , take it easy. By his third year he felt fluent in spanish which he defined as being able to win an argument with your lover without resorting to English. But he has made the transition and Madrid has also taken him to heart. For weeks before I actually heard the Band I was told repeatedly by Madrilenos that "You have to hear Bob Sand´s Big Band". They perform every other Sunday at The Café Berlin to a crowd of fans. He introduced the band to me proudly as " Some of the best musicians in Madrid". He also added that they were playing for about 10 Euros each and this included a line up of 5 Saxophones, 4 Trombones , and 4 Trumpets as well as Piano, Guitar, Bass and Drums. They play the standard classic American Big Band Songbook with arrangements by Sammy Nestico, Count Basie, Buddy Rich and Thad Jones. Bob Sands seems to be intent on spreading the gospel of true Swing. All of the musicians are of the highest caliber, the solo work by all was excellent. Bob Sands solos in an exhuberant, masculine, highly honed style with a dark tone on tenor. Israel Sandoval was a standout on Guitar. Cris Kase also made an excellent contribution on trumpet. It appeared that about half of the musicians were Americans including a woman on Trombone. Bob Sands leads the band with elan charming the audience with a showmans personality and sharing with them his deep love for the Big Band sound and his joy in having the opportunity to play this music which is almost unheard in Europe. I asked him why he had made his life in Madrid he said "Paris doesn´t miss me, New York is getting along fine without me, but Madrid needs me."