Bobby Sanabria is a Latin jazz drummer, producer and teacher who plays with legends and himself is an 8-time Grammy-nominee as a leader. He is New York Puerto Rican.
Bobby is a great storyteller and has that Puerto Rican wit which can be so potent. He is one of the padrinos of NYC’s Latin music scene and a champion of Puerto Rico and The Bronx where he was born and raised.
Sanabria’s latest work includes “West Side Story Reimagined” which was Grammy nominated and won 2019 Record of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association.
We still can’t get over watching Bobby play polyrhythms. He’ll lay down a groove, play something different over it, and as if that was too easy, he’ll lay down a third rhythm. Try it. It’s seems impossible. Sanabria is Mr. Multibrain.
Bobby Sanabria in New York City
Sanabria’s projects include the Multiverse Big Band and Ascensión. He teaches at the New School University and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Bobby hosts the Latin Jazz Cruise Radio Show on WBGO 88.3FM / wbgo.org every Friday night from 9-11pm ET.
Bobby Sanabria and the Multiverse Big Band are joined by Manhattan Transfer’s Janis Siegel, and Jennifer Jade Ledesna and Antoinette Montague for a concert honoring NYC’s Puerto Rican community at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village on Sat, Sep 25 at 4pm. FREE 🇵🇷
To Be a Master of Music, You Have to Learn From One, or in Bobby’s Case, Many
Bobby is one of these guys who bootstrapped himself with nothing but will and talent. Artists like Sanabria work harder than investment bankers.
He grew up with the legends of Latin music. Tito Puente is his role model. He is Berklee College of Music which produces outstanding working jazz musicians. Bobby started his music career with Mongo Santamaria.
Sanabria was also Mario Bauzá’s drummer for three albums .Bauzá was Machito’s music director. Bauzá and Machito created the cubop template for Latin jazz in the 1940s while Dizzy Gillespie and others were creating bebop. Bauzá was also the guy who Dizzy Gillespie asked for a Latin percussionist. That led to the legendary Dizzy Gillespie/Chano Pozo collaboration which produced jazz classics “Manteca” and “Tin Tin Deo.”
Bobby can name drop endlessly, but in Latin jazz, Bauzá was the master of masters. Everyone learned from him. Machito is more famous, but Bauzá was the guy who called Machito and Graciela to New York and brought Latin percussion back into mainstream jazz.
The Bronx Music Hall
The Bronx Music Hall coming in 2021 to The Bronx Commons in Melrose, is going to be a key part of Bobby Sanabria’s legacy. He is Co-Artistic Director with Elena Martínez (City Lore, WHEDco) who is another Bronx legend. She is THE folklorist of The Bronx.
Back in the day the drum never stopped in the South Bronx. Bobby and Elena are working to give young New Yorkers the opportunity to do what Bobby did which was to take pride in his heritage and rise himself up through talent and hard work doing what he loves.
As Bobby would say, “Ashé.”
Bobby Sanabria and Quarteto Achê play Latin jazz at the Yonkers Waterfront (116 Water Grant St) on Friday, July 16, 2021 at 6:30pm. FREE
Bobby Sanabria and Ascensión play the Kingsborough Lighthouse Bandshell at Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn (past Coney Island) on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 7pm. FREE
NY POPS UP FESTIVAL
Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band salutes Puerto Rican composers and plays the complete “West Side Story Reimagined” for Casita Maria at the Playground 52 Amphitheater in Longwood, The Bronx on Sunday, June 6, 2021 from 2:30-5:45 pm. FREE