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Guitarist / Composer Ray Sandoval Releases 'What Is Now'

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Nourishment for the musically inquisitive.
—Debbie Burke
Ray Sandoval
Composer and musician, Ray Sandoval, has used his music to advocate for social change throughout his career:  From Los Angeles-based Chicano rock group, Quetzal, to his more recent collaborations with world-renowned art activist Ai Weiwei. 

His latest solo project, What Is Now, features a diverse group of acclaimed musicians from Los Angeles to London, Berlin, and Barcelona:  It was recorded, in part, during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

What Is Now is a question but also a statement, my reflection on the tectonic shifts occurring in our world today.  It is both a departure and a return:  An exploration beyond the boundaries of my earlier work as well as a homecoming with old friends.”

Tracks and Personnel

Side A: Migration Suite- Movements l, ll, lll, lV, and V.
Richard Maegraith- Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Flute, Voice
Genís Bagés Rubí: Drums
Daigo Nakai: Bass
Sacha Hladiy: Keyboard
Ray Sandoval: Guitar
Anton Spronk: Cello
Sylvie Berger: Viola Recorded in Berlin Germany, September 2019.

Side B: Southern Wind, Rumba Blues
Ray Sandoval: guitar
Tony Austin: drums
Rene Camacho: bass
Richard Katz: keyboards
James King: alto saxophone
Satin Singh: percussion

Recorded in London, Los Angeles, Tucson, and Valencia, Spain, April 2020.

About Ray Sandoval

Ray Sandoval is an award winning composer, performer, producer and educator, trained in both the Classical and Jazz genres.

Born of Japanese and Mexican-American parents, Ray’s musical career began at home in Tucson, Arizona. At the age of eight, he was playing drums in a family band with his older brother, Richard. A family hobby turned into serious study when both became the first students selected for APEX (Academic Preparation for Excellence) at the University of Arizona. Under the guidance of Thomas Patterson, Professor of Music, Ray began to perform solo works of classical guitar earning a number of awards and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music.

In 1992, Ray left Arizona to earn a Masters in 20th Century Music, World Music and Jazz Improvisation at The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Los Angeles’ amalgam of cultures had a profound effect on Ray’s music. From hip-hop to classical guitar, Ray began to experiment with Afro-Cuban, Spanish and Brazilian sounds. During this time, he joined the Grammy-award winning group, Quetzal, bringing his own sound in latin jazz to Quetzal’s soul, hip-hop and folkloric music to create a unique blend of politically conscious compositions.

After releasing several critically-acclaimed solo records, Ray decided to push his own musical boundaries by exploring the roots of folk music and applying them to modern jazz compositions. In 2004 he received the JUSFC Creative Artist Grant to study the folk music of Japan and develop compositions based on his experience living in the country. Since then, he has also travelled through Andalusia, Spain for intensive training of flamenco guitar, as well as Bali, Indonesia to study the complex rhythms of Balinese Gamelan.

After living in Jerusalem, he moved to London, Berlin and then to Valencia, Spain where he now continues to compose and produce music. Most recently he composed music for a short documentary film with artist Ai Weiwei on the migration crisis in Europe.

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