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Bobby Sanabria

Bobby Sanabria is a 7-time Grammy-nominee as a leader. He is a noted drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, conductor, producer, educator, documentary film maker, and bandleader of Puerto Rican descent born and raised in NY’s South Bronx. He was the drummer for the acknowledged creator of Afro-Cuban jazz, Mario Bauzá touring and recording three CD’s with him, two of which were Grammy nominated, as well as an incredible variety of artists. From Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria (with whom he started his career) Paquito D’Rivera, Yomo Toro, Candido, The Mills Brothers, Ray Barretto, Chico O’Farrill, Francisco Aguabella, Henry Threadgill, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Daniel Ponce, Larry Harlow, Daniel Santos, Celia Cruz, Adalberto Santiago, Xiomara Portuondo, Pedrito Martinez, Roswell Rudd, Patato, David Amram, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, Michael Gibbs, Charles McPherson Jon Faddis, Bob Mintzer, Phil Wilson, Randy Brecker, Charles Tolliver, M'BOOM, Michelle Shocked, Marco Rizo, and many more. In addition he has guest conducted and performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras like the WDR Big Band, The Airmen of Note, The U.S. Jazz Ambassadors, Eau Claire University Big, The University of Calgary Big Band to name just a few.

His first big band recording, Live & in Clave!!! was nominated for a Grammy in 2001. A Grammy nomination followed in 2003 for 50 Years of Mambo: A Tribute to Perez Prado. His 2008 Grammy nominated Big Band Urban Folktales was the first Latin jazz recording to ever reach #1 on the national Jazz Week charts. In 2009 the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra he directs at the Manhattan School of Music was nominated for a Latin Grammy for Kenya Revisited Live!!!, a reworking of the music from Machito’s greatest album, Kenya. In 2011 the recording Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!! by the same orchestra under Bobby’s direction was nominated for a Latin Jazz Grammy. Partial proceeds from the sale of both CD’s continue to support the scholarship program in the Manhattan School of Music’s jazz program. Bobby’s 2012 big band recording, inspired by the writings of Mexican author Octavio Paz, entitled MULTIVERSE was nominated for 2 Grammys. His work as an activist led him to fight to reinstate the Latin Jazz category after NARAS decided to eliminate many ethnic and regional categories in 2010. He and three other colleagues actually sued the Grammys which led to the reinstatement of the category. He is an associate producer of and featured interviewee in the documentaries, The Palladium: Where Mambo Was King, winner of the IMAGINE award for Best TV documentary of 2003, and the Alma Award winning From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale where he also composed the score in 2006 and was broadcast on PBS. In 2009 he was a consultant and featured on screen personality in Latin Music U.S.A. also broadcast on PBS. In 2017 he was also a consultant and featured on air personality for the documentary We Like It Like That: The Story of Latin Boogaloo. He is the composer for the score of the 2017 documentary Some Girls. DRUM! Magazine named him Percussionist of the Year in 2005; he was also named 2011 and 2013 Percussionist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. This South Bronx native of Puerto Rican parents was a 2006 inductee into the Bronx Walk of Fame. He holds a BM from the Berklee College of Music and is on the faculty of the New School University and the Manhattan School of Music where he has taught Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestras passing on the tradition while moving it forward. His recording with the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra entitled “Que Viva Harlem!” released in 2014 on the Jazzheads label has received ****1/2 stars in Downbeat magazine.

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25
Album Review

David Lopato: Short Stories

Read "Short Stories" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Short Stories, pianist and composer David Lopato's seventh album, is for the most part modern in the best sense of the word. Lopato's musical influences are wide, ranging from jazz, blues and rock to avant-garde and free improvisation while embracing themes from Africa, Latin America and Asia--most notably Indonesia where he spent a year on a Fulbright scholarship learning to play the Javanese gamelan. Even when fusing these diverse bonds into a single vision, however, Lopato seldom strays from the ...

6
Album Review

Bobby Sanabria: Vox Humana

Read "Vox Humana" reviewed by Cary Tenenbaum


The opening track on Vox Humana could easily have been the encore of this live performance recorded at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, part of Jazz At Lincoln Center in New York City. It is a rousing version of the Duke Ellington crowd pleaser “Caravan" and a boisterous Latin tinged big band version it is, with Matthew Gonzalez's barril de bomba and requinto pandereta, bandleader and drummer Sanabria and others on congas, bongos and bells prominently leading the percussionists and portending ...

4
Radio & Podcasts

Chet Baker, John Pizzarelli & Bobby Sanabria

Read "Chet Baker, John Pizzarelli & Bobby Sanabria" reviewed by Joe Dimino


We kick off the 799th Episode of Neon Jazz with energy and style from percussionist & bandleader Bobby Sanabria with new music off his 2023 album with his MULTIVERSE Big Band. From there, we hear new music from Dave Bass, Chet Baker, John PIzzarelli and Wayne Escoffery. We also get cuts from rising modern jazz cats including Avi Granite, Nick Green and Dan Waldman. All of this comes to a close with Tom Harrell. Dig the jazz, my friends.

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Interview

Bobby Sanabria: Giving Credit Where It's Due

Read "Bobby Sanabria: Giving Credit Where It's Due" reviewed by Jose Manuel de Jesus


Grammy-nominated drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, conductor, producer, educator, and bandleader Bobby Sanabria is a major advocate for Latin jazz education and justice for those musicians who play under its banner. He is also a major force for musical education and economic development in the South Bronx, is a lecturer at Jazz at Lincoln Center and hosts the Latin Jazz Cruise radio program on WBGO 88.3FM in Newark, NJ. All About Jazz: You grew up in the Bronx, right? ...

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Album Review

Mary LaRose: Out Here

Read "Out Here" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


Vocalist Mary LaRose has long been putting vocals, with and without words, to the works of modern jazz composers such as Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden and Eric Dolphy. This CD is her first full-length exploration of Dolphy, probing the free-wheeling elusiveness of his work with a group which includes several of the instruments he used in his recordings, cello, vibraphone, and bass clarinet. LaRose approaches Dolphy's music by putting lyrics to some tunes, singing wordlessly on ...

2
Album Review

Mary LaRose: Out Here

Read "Out Here" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Vocalist Mary LaRose has explored the instrumental music of jazz artists in the past, penning lyrics to the music of Thelonious Monk,Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, and Charles Mingus. Also included in her previous releases is the music of Eric Dolphy, who has always been a spirit guide for LaRose. With Out Here, she dedicates an entire album to Dolphy's compositions, plus a couple pieces tied to his legacy. This session reminds you of the great Carmen McRae's Carmen ...

6
Radio & Podcasts

The Legacy of Leonard Bernstein: Policastro, Sanabria, Nash, Moran, Bloom

Read "The Legacy of Leonard Bernstein:  Policastro, Sanabria, Nash, Moran, Bloom" reviewed by Russell Perry


In 2018, Leonard Bernstein would have been 100 years old, generating renewed interest in his work. His compositions, especially those from West Side Story continue to inspire many fine jazz performances with their beautiful melodies, compelling rhythms, and unique harmony. 100th birthday tributes by Bobby Sanabria & the Multiverse Big Band and, on the other end of the spectrum, Joe Policastro and Ted Nash in trio settings plus more jazz responses to the Maestro -in this hour of Jazz at ...

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Video / DVD

Dionne, Tomasz and Buddy

Dionne, Tomasz and Buddy

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

This week in The Wall Street Journal, I interviewed Dionne Warwick for my “House Call" column in the Mansion section. There's nothing like picking up the ringing phone and hearing, “Mr. Myers? Dionne Warwick." Dionne's voice is unmistakable—like a long wooden match being drawn slowly and seductively across a flint. We talked about childhood and growing up in East Orange, N.J. And yes, I asked whether she sings her Hal David/Burt Bacharach hits in the shower. The answer will surprise ...

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Recording

Bobby Sanabria: West Side Story

Bobby Sanabria: West Side Story

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

In August 1957, West Side Story opened at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre. The musical was fashioned after Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and was set on New York's Upper West Side in a neighborhood polarized by Puerto Rican and working-class white families. The show received positive reviews, and four years later the musical was adapted for the screen by director Robert Wise. Since the curtains went up on West Side Story's original stage production, virtually every major interpretation of the score ...

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Recording

West Side Story Reimagined For Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

West Side Story Reimagined For Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

Source: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

An incredible new Latin jazz treatment of this timeless masterwork that premiered on September 26, 1957 redefining American musical theatre in celebration of the shows recent 60th Anniversary (2017) and Maestro Bernstein’s Centennial (2018). Recorded live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in NYC, this exciting new reimagining is West Side Story like you’ve never heard it before as performed by the amazing multi-Grammy nominated 21 piece Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band. This set includes an accompanying 16 page booklet containing rare ...

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Event

The Second Annual Made In New York Jazz Gala Is Announced

The Second Annual Made In New York Jazz Gala Is Announced

Source: Michael Ricci

s music an international language? Looking at the international jazz scene it would be hard to argue otherwise. On June 27th, 2015 at in New York the international nature of jazz is being celebrated to its fullest, with the Made in New York Jazz Competition hosting international jazz, folk jazz and new flavor jazz artists all sharing the stage together. The Made in New York Jazz Competition has gone a long way in helping make people aware of how vibrant ...

Performance / Tour

Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band on Nov 21-24 at Dizzy's Club

Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band on Nov 21-24 at Dizzy's Club

Source: Scott Thompson Public Relations

Multi-Grammy Nominated Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band Debuts Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola November 21-24, 2013 7:30pm & 9:30pm Celebrating Puerto Rican Heritage Month Reservations: 212-258-9595 Come see the debut of the Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola on November 21-24. For the first time they will be headlining at Dizzy's as the House of Swing becomes the House of Clave for four unforgettable nights of big band jazz, ...

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Performance / Tour

Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band at the Hostos Center on November 1

Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band at the Hostos Center on November 1

Source: Scott Thompson Public Relations

Hostos Center Presents Multi-Grammy Nominated Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band Mega Concert Tribute to Composer Rafael Hernández Friday, November 1, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. Concert Celebrates Puerto Rican Heritage Month Features Members of the Bronx Arts Ensemble String Section and the 319th U.S. Army Band Bronx, NY - To kick off Puerto Rican Heritage Month, the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture will present the multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band on ...

Event

Great Jazz On The Great Hill With Jazzmobile On August 10

Great Jazz On The Great Hill With Jazzmobile On August 10

Source: Carolyn McClair Public Relations

GREAT JAZZ ON THE GREAT HILL RETURNS TO CENTRAL PARK Central Park Conservancy and Jazzmobile Partner for an Afternoon of Jazz The free Great Jazz on the Great Hill returns for its seventh year in Central Park. Bring your family, friends, and blanket to enjoy live musical performances by world-renowned musicians, snacks from food trucks and family games and activities. Performers will include Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, a swing band that’s played everywhere from Dinosaur BBQ to Lincoln Center, and the ...

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Event

Jazz Master Benny Golson And Double Grammy Nominated Bobby Sanabria Kick Off New Series In Harlem

Jazz Master Benny Golson And Double Grammy Nominated Bobby Sanabria Kick Off New Series In Harlem

Source: Greg Thomas

NEW YORK, NY: During Black History Month, the sister venue of Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster restaurant—Ginny’s Supper Club (310 Lenox Avenue, between 125th and 126th)—premieres two jazz series that evoke Harlem’s storied past and reflects its diverse present. From February 21-23, the internationally renowned jazz composer and tenor saxophonist Benny Golson returns to Harlem with his quartet for “The Jazz Masters Series.” Latin Jazz percussionist and multi- Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria leads Quarteto Aché for the “JazzPlus” series on Feb. ...

Recording

Drummer/Composer and Multi Grammy Nominee Bobby Sanabria Releases New CD "Multiverse" on Jazzheads Records - August 14th, 2012.

Drummer/Composer and Multi Grammy Nominee Bobby Sanabria Releases New CD "Multiverse" on Jazzheads Records - August 14th, 2012.

Source: Two for the Show Media

"...What sets the worlds in motion is the interplay of differences, their attractions and repulsions. Life is plurality, death is uniformity.  By suppressing differences and peculiarities, by eliminating different civilizations and cultures, progress weakens life and favors death. The ideal of a single civilization, for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us.  Every view of the world that becomes extinct, every culture that disappears, diminishes a possibility of life." —Octavio Paz, 1970 These words by ...

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Award / Grant

Grammys add changes to jazz, Latin, R&B fields

Grammys add changes to jazz, Latin, R&B fields

Source: Michael Ricci

NEW YORK—A year after the Grammy Awards cut 31 categories, sparking protests and a lawsuit by Latin jazz musicians, the music organization has made more changes by adding three awards, including the reinstatement of best Latin jazz album. The Recording Academy announced Friday in a statement to The Associated Press that the upcoming Grammys will feature 81 categories. It reduced the number from 109 to 78 last year. New entries include awards for best urban contemporary album—to honor R&B albums ...

Bobby's latest recording project, "Big Band Urban Folktales", on the Jazzheads label, is proving to be his most lauded work and it has been garnering critical acclaim for its futuristic approach to the Latin jazz big band canon. "...(Mr. Sanabria) expands the possibilities, moving the sound of bands like that of (Puente, Machito), with all the heft and intricacy and clave-based dance rhythm, into the harmonically oriented sophistication of current New York jazz players. It's New York up and down, and back and forth across the last century, from the street to the mambo palaces to the conservatories." - Ben Ratliff, The NY Times

Also look out for the DVD of Bobby and his nonet Ascensión's scorching appearance at the 2006 Modern Drummer Festival currently released by Hudson Music and the release of the CD, "El Espiritu Jibaro"

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Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Short Stories

Self Produced
2024

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Vox Humana

Jazzheads
2023

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Players

Open Mic Records
2022

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Out Here

Little (i) Music
2021

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Multiverse

Jazzheads
2012

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Sittin at the Bar

From: Players
By Bobby Sanabria

There Are Thorns

From: Players
By Bobby Sanabria

Videos

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