Bobby Sanabria is set to possess the crowd with a blend of Latin and jazz that incorporates a “mutliverse” of musical genres and culture at the Peekskill Business Improvement District's his weekend.
“On a superficial level it is Latin jazz, but it is much more than that because it reaches the cultural roots of the music and presents it in a very entertaining way for the audience,” Sanabria said of his music. “It is an intellectual experience.”
An intellectual experience that will also have a crowd moving their hips, Sanabria said, with a guarantee.
The multi-Grammy-nominated musician is a South Bronx native who grew up with Latin jazz but was also a fan of funk, r & b, hip hop and rock and roll, all genres that he fuses into his big band performances. His diverse recording and performing experience includes work with such legendary figures as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Paquito D'Rivera, Charles McPherson, Mongo Santamaría, and many more. He is also a leader in the Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and jazz fields as both a drummer and percussionist, and is recognized as one of the most articulate musician-scholars of la tradición living today.
While Sanabria normally performs with a 19-piece band, this Saturday he will be on stage with nine of those musicians on a wide range of instruments - trombone, tenor sex, flute, alto sax, vocals, electric bass, drums and a lot of percussion. Jazz aficionados will be able to follow along with the virtuosity of the musicians who improvise and dancers will enjoy the beat and rhythm of the high energy show.
“There is no way the crowd is not going to get excited,” Sanabria said. “The rhythm in and of itself grabs you and kind of possesses you. It is like what Carlos Santana says, rhythms from Latin America change your molecular structure.”
For Sanabria, music is more about playing and enjoying, it is about learning and sharing too. He has just returned from a trip to Cleveland State University, where he was in residence at a Latin jazz Robert Ocasio camp where he taught eight to 18 year olds music and culture.
He also teaches while he is on stage, but not in a pedantic way, he said.
“It is what I call ‘edutainment.’ I always give anecdotes about the music and where the rhythms come from, but not in a scholarly way.”
Sanabria is the man to teach it. He is a leading expert on the history of Latin Jazz music and is passionate speaking about it.
“Latinos are becoming the largest ethnic group in the United States. There have been periods when Latin American music has been popular, in the 1940s and 50s with mambo and cha cha cha, which then affected rock and roll.
In 1960s with Brazilian music and bossa nova. And now there is Reggeaton, which started in Panama and then spread to Puerto Rico,” Sanabria explains.
That passion and dedication to a blend of cultural music is packed into Sanabria and his 19-piece big band’s new album coming out on Aug. 15, Multiverse.
"The album is inspired by the Mexican writer Octavio Paz, who writes about how the greatest civilizations have always been combinations of different ethnic groups, belief systems and different cultures coming together to create this ‘multi-culture.’ And when you are talking about multi-cultures you don’t have to look further than Latinos because it is a combination of Indian, European and African American culture and the music reflects it.
“So I used to say I a am New York born Nuyorican when people ask me where I am from. Now, I say I am from the multiverse.”
Sanabria is on a mission to get the mulitverse sound exposure and expects the Peekskill crowd to be very pleased this Saturday.
You can catch Sanabria on the main stage in downtown Peekskill at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21 at the free
You can pre-order “Multiverse” on Amazon.com.
To learn more about Latin music, check out this website.
Read more about Peekskill Jazz and Blues Festival here.