It’s not often an audience gets to hear and see a musical performance where not only are the sounds of high quality, but it is also entertaining and educational.
There are few performers or performing groups that can pull off this multi-accomplishment. One such performer was classical pianist/humorist Victor Borge. His concerts were always of high quality. A performing group with similar characteristics is the New York Voices. Their performances are perfectly choreographed and musically executed from beginning to end. But when it comes to the big band genre, one ensemble stands alone and that is the Bobby Sanabria Grammy-nominated “Multiverse” Big Band, featuring 7X Grammy-nominee, drummer, performance arranger, historian, and educator Sanabria himself.
His performance and that of his big band, October 15 at the Americas Society--directly across the street from Hunter College—was exemplary of the rare highly musical, entertaining, and educational triple threat.
Pulling from two of his several Grammy-nominated albums—“Big Band Urban Folktales” (2007) and “Multiverse” (2012)—with such charts as “57th Street Mambo (Michael Mossman), “Besame Mucho” (Consuelo Velasquez), “Obrigado Mestre” (Hermeto Pascoal), “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg’; arranged by Andrew Neesley), and finishing the 90-minute set with “The Ellington Suite” (composed and arranged by Michael Mossman), it was clear that Sanabria’s uniqueness is imbedded in the musical and cultural tradition he comes from.
Bobby Sanabria and the Multiverse Big Band perform Por una cabeza
He has often stated that his two heroes are Tito Puente and Buddy Rich. Both of these virtuoso drummers not only played the hell out of their instruments—Puente was a multi-instrumentalist as well as a great dancer; Buddy Rich was born drumming it seems, it was as natural to him as breathing—they were also visually entertaining.
Sanabria is not only a virtuoso on the drum set, he is similarly entertaining. If, for some reason, you’re missing your metronome to keep steady time, just call Bobby up and ask him to tap out a metronome beat for you—any tempo. He won’t miss a beat. His internal metronome is steady, perfect. His range of rhythmic patterns is enormous, encyclopedic almost. In any one chart you’ll hear him perform any number of rhythmic patterns—from swing to a host of Latin-jazz styles—and he does it with an ease that belies the many years of study he has put into his craft....