A scintillating evening of Latin jazz with a novel twist was the order of business Monday, March 26, 2018 at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Bobby Sanabria, the director of The Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Band, has conducted superlative shows at Dizzy's in the past, but this one had a packed audience chatting up laudable encomiums long after the opening set had concluded.
The program "Cartoon and TV Music Goes Latin Jazz!!!" featured the theme music from well-remembered shows of yore whose music often eclipsed the plots in popularity. Thus the music themes of The Flintstones, Johnny Quest, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Mannix
and other shows were transformed into a Latin jazz extravaganza recalling writers like Hoyt Curtin and Lalo Schifrin, whose TV themes most could whistle but whose names few could recall.
The band, loaded with super talent from MSM, which has jumped to the head of the class of world music schools, once again revealed a cornucopia of prescient ensemble players and intriguing soloists. With a truckload of percussion instruments (and players) underpinning the horns, the production proudly displayed the increasing influence of Afro-Cuban polyrhythms on the present-day jazz scene. The evening's percussive intensity was punctuated in the concluding number with an appearance by ninety-six year-old Candido Camero. The legendary conguero once again displayed the polytonal richness of his multiple congas, recalling the sound that he pioneered so many decades ago.
Throughout, perspicacious commentary was provided by Sanabria in between leaps to and from a host of percussive instruments, all of which he masterfully commanded. The multi-nominated Grammy award conductor's album Multiverse
was nominated for two Grammys. That band's forthcoming CD, dubbed West Side Story Reimagined
, is a Latin jazz treatment of the score of Leonard Bernstein
's masterpiece. The release date is July 2018.