Live & in Clave (Arabesque Records)

Bobby Sanabria Big Band

Released May 13, 2000

Grammy Nominee for Best Latin Jazz Album 2001




Bobby Sanabria 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.

Track Listing:

1. The Opening: Praise to the Creator & Ancestors/In the Time of the Colony (Mario Recio / Traditional) 2:52

2. Moss Code (Michael Philip Mossman) 8:04

3. Angel Eyes (Earl Brent / Matt Dennis) 8:32

4. Nuyorican Son 5:44

5. Olokun/Yemaya (Bobby Sanabria) 7:01

6. Adios, Mario (Bobby Sanabria) 6:01

7. The Troubadours (Sweet Sue Terry) 8:36

8. Donna Lee (Charlie Parker) 7:58

9. Manteca (Dizzy Gillespie) 13:52


Bobby Sanabria: drums, akpwon, morua, vocals

Bobby Sanabria Big Band
Rhythm Section 
Wilson “Chembo” Corniel: congas
Roberto Quintero: bongo & cencerro, shekere
Hiram “El Pavo” Remon: maracas, guiro macho, shekere, vocals
John di Martino: piano
Boris Kozlov: acoustic bass & electric bass (9)

Karolina Strassmayer: lead alto, soprano, vocals
Gene Jefferson: 2nd alto, guataca, vocals
Peter Brainin: 1st tenor
Jay Collins: 2nd tenor, soprano saxophones, pre-Columbian flute
Ricardo Pons: baritone, shekere, vocals

Michael Philip Mossman: 1st & 2nd
John Walsh: 1st & 2nd, vocals
Tim Ouimette: 3rd & 1st (9)
Tanya Darby: 4th

Dr. Chris Washburne: 1st & 2nd, clave, guataca, vocals
Barry Olsen: 1st & 2nd, guataca, vocals
Joe Fiedler: 3rd & 1st (8)
Dan Levine: bass

Special Guests
John Stubblefield: tenor saxophone (4, 5, 9)
Candido Camero: congas (9)

Recorded Live May 20, 1999, at Birdland, NYC

Engineer: David Ruffo

Assistant Engineer: Michelle Casillas

Mastered by Gene Paul

Mixed by Bobby Sanabria, Jim Gately

Producer: Bobby Sanabria

Executive-Producer: Marvin M. Reiss


Somebody wrote a lyric to Dizzy Gillespies “Manteca” that repeats the chant “we always go back to Dizzywe always go back.” Indeed we do. Gillespies bebop/Cuban music hybrid, cubop, came at the perfect time in New York. Gillespie, who never took credit for the fusion, only for promoting it through his popularity, championed his Chinese music bebop, and Chano Pozo and Mario Bauzas Cuban Rhythms. Fast forward to the 21st centurys mining of Buena Vista Social Club and the popularity of Cuban artists such as Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Paquito DRivera, and Ruben Gonzalez. The time is ripe once again for this very multicolored and emotional music.

Drummer Bobby Sanabrias Afro-Cuban Dream, a 19-piece big band, is reliving the fusion of Bebop and Cuban music: the music of Sanabrias former employers Dizzy Gillespie, Mario Bauza, and Tito Puente. His degree from the Berklee School of Music may give him credibility in the academic world, but his swinging arrangements give him a hot street reputation. Recorded live at Birdland, his big band plies funk rhythms to Cuban and American music. This isnt a cubop repertory band, because no one has yet caught up with what Dizzy/Mario/Chano and others were doing in the 1940s and 50s. Sanabria just catches hold of the rhythms and rides party music to its enjoyable conclusions. Highlights include a mambo remake of Charlie Parkers “Donna Lee” with a tight super sax arrangement behind Philip Michael Mossmans searing trumpet. Mossman, a hard bop devotee, has found his rightful place with Latin grooves, standing out here and in the bands of Ray Barretto and Mario Bauza. Also remarkable is the fourteen-minute rendition of “Manteca” with the legendary Candido manning the congas and John Stubblefield sitting in on tenor. Then there is the percussion coming from every direction. Sanabria knows how to move your ass. Like Charlie Mingus, Sanabria commands the Clave by his rhythm will. Sure to be in my top ten albums for 2000, there are too many highlights to mention. A must for fans of Cubop, bebop, Latin, jazz and world music.

Mark Corroto (All About Jazz)