Drummer, percussionist, composer, educator, Bobby Sanabria has gained renown and respect from fans and musicians alike as one of the foremost proponents of what is labeled Afro-Cuban/Latin Jazz. Born and raised in the South Bronx, Sanabria performed with a veritable Who's Who in the world of jazz and Latin music, as well as with his own critically acclaimed ensembles. His diverse recording and performing experience includes work with such legendary figures as Dizzy Gillespie, Mario Bauzá, Tito Puente, Paquito D'Rivera,, Mongo Santamaría, Ray Barretto, and a myriad of other Latin and jazz greats. Inspired and encouraged by Tito ...read more
Drummer/historian/educator/percussionist Bobby Sanabria is more than the sum of his parts; he's actually the sum of all parts, collected, absorbed and observed over the course of his musical life. The Nuyorican jazz giant is a stylistic sponge, historical repository and bringer of the boom, but he's a true artist above all else. He understands that music is about self expression, tradition, innovation, and the place where all three meet. The pieces that Sanabria presents on Multiverse are snapshots of his past colliding with the present, but they aren't simply still images of single moments in time. Each ...read more
The spirit of Tito Puente comes alive with a riveting live concert, wonderfully recorded, on Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!!. Percussionist Bobby Sanabria fires up the exceptionally talented Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra in an energetic performance, just as he did on Kenya Revisited Live!!! (Jazzheads, 2009), this time showing maestro Puente's depth, majesty, complexity and artistry. Two distinguishing features of this concert are its stylistic variety, and the new arrangements or reconstructions--still recognizable and true to their original form. Sanabria chose the tunes carefully to demonstrate Puente's full musical breadth within a well-balanced program; a testament ...read more
If the Latin Jazz community had its own Mount Rushmore, then Tito Puente's face would be there, right beside the images of Machito and Mario Bauzá. All three men are viewed as patriarchs and/or key figures in the evolution of the Afro-Cuban musical movement and, despite Puente being the only non-Cuban on that list, Bauzá himself paid him the ultimate compliment when he said that no one in the world has done more for Afro-Cuban music than Tito Puente." While all three men have left this world, their music remains, and percussionist Bobby Sanabria--the ultimate advocate for Afro-Cuban music--is making ...read more
Led by percussionist Bobby Sanabria, the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra delivers a worthy tribute to one of the greatest AfroCuban jazz recordings ever made: Machito's Kenya. Recorded in 1957, Kenya exists for many as one of the essential albums of its kind. It's absolutely appropriate that, more than half a century later, someone should honor its legacy with a live performance. The Afro-Cuban Orchestra proves to be worthy of tackling such a massive endeavor. The elite ensemble matches the boisterous intensity heard on the original album in each of its 12 selections. And Sanabria ...read more
2009 is a key year in Latin music education and rediscovery. Kenya Revisited Live!!! is the culmination of Bobby Sanabria's effort to recreate Machito & The Afro-Cubans' defining 1957 masterpiece, Kenya: Afro-Cuban Jazz (Roulette), under the direction of Mario Bauzá. It's a real bridge between Afro-Cuban music and jazz, featuring the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra with special guest/NEA jazz master Cándido Camero on congas for three tunes. The show starts off with Frenzy," a lively, fast tempo with short trombone solos, joined later by the whole band before an added extension for alto-saxophone.
The ...read more
In 1957, Cuban band leader, singer and composer Francisco Raul Gutierrez Grillo de Ayala, AKA Machito," his Afro-Cuban big band, along with co-founder Mario Bauza, Cannonball Adderley and Basie trumpeter Joe Newman, released an album titled Kenya (Roulette), which, at the time, became instrumental in launching the Afro-Cuban or Latin jazz genre. Multiple Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria pays homage to Machito, Bauza and their ground-breaking album directing the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra in a live concert recording with new arrangements of the entire original repertoire with Kenya Revisited Live!!!".
Sanabria conducts the world-renowned music conservatory's ...read more
A full horn section combined with an ensemble of percussionists usually means one thing: Afro-Cuban jazz. Conductor Bobby Sanabria and the Manhattan School of Music's Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra capture the essence of this style of music by paying tribute to a landmark recording.Kenya Revisited Live!!!, originally recorded in 1957 by Machito and his Afro-Cubans, featuring Cannonball Adderley, is widely hailed as a first- rate assembly of this style of music. With updated music and new arrangements the orchestra is comprised of the standard three-piece rhythm section, five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, and four percussionists who also contribute ...read more
Bobby Sanabria is a living museum of Afro-Cuban music. Sanabria is a percussionist, drummer and educator who is at the forefront of Afro-Cuban music--particularly the frontier where it intersects with jazz. In 2007, Sanabria released Big Band Urban Folktales (Jazzheads, 2007), an album he says takes the music beyond the 21st century." Jason Crane, AAJ contributor and host of The Jazz Session, sat down with Sanabria in May 2007 to talk about the history of Afro-Cuban music, Sanabria's own career, and The Ugliest Man In America."All About Jazz: Let's talk about the Bronx. When people think of Afro-Cuban ...read more
Born in the Bronx and hailing from a Puerto Rican background, percussionist Bobby Sanabria has mastered every conceivable form of AfroLatin music, from New York salsa to Cuban son and even down to Brazilian samba. This album comes across as a demonstration record for everything that he and his thrilling big band can accomplish. Illuminating though they are, it might be best to lay off reading Dr. Robert Farris Thompson's booklet notes until after a few spins of the disc and a few mambos around the apartment. On paper, the sheer number of transitions between bolero, cha-cha-cha, ...read more
In the wake of the disappearance of many of the Afro-Cubanjazz big bands of the late twentieth century like Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaria, Chico O'Farrill, Tito Puente and Mario Bauza, drummer/percussionist Bobby Sanabria heads up a twenty-piece band that fills that gap quite nicely.
A native New Yorker, Sanabria graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 1979 and worked with many members of the aforementioned orchestras. Big Band Urban Folktales is appropriately titled. Sanabria tries to corral, and at least partially succeeds in grasping the various forms of Latin music, that include mambo, merengue, samba, salsa, and ...read more
Bobby Sanabria's concept of jazz is freedom. There is no arguing that point of view given the evidence he presents on this recording.
Sanabria finds this freedom in many avenues. It comes from his students and it filters through the musicians with whom he has forged relationships over the years. It springs from the bands he has led, culminating in his present big band. It resides in his music that assimilates several forms, brings them together, and opens the door to fusion in the best sense of the word. That word is jazz.
Sanabria's vision and universality are reflected in ...read more
At some point in their artistic development, every Latin Jazz musician studies the genre's forefathers, including Dizzy Gillespie, Machito (Francisco Raúl Gutiérrez Grillo) and Tito Puente. After the study ends, the musician must decide to approach tradition as a museum curator or an active experimenter. The museum curator creates replications of classic material, closely imitating the original works. This requires extensive technical skill, but it limits creativity to the given model. The active experimenter fuses past musical concepts with new ideas, creating an original product rooted in history. Percussionist and drummer Bobby Sanabria clearly takes on the role of active ...read more
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