There’s no doubt that the modern jazz world is completely fragmented into any number of different styles and approaches, but an authentic approach in jazz definitely involves a connection to the music’s roots. Whether an artist decides to integrate rhythms from Cuba or Brazil, add rock aesthetics to the groove, or look at improvisation from a perspective of freedom, they need to tie their work to the lessons of the past. They’re certainly not required to repeat the music of the past; doing that would mean that they hadn’t really learned their history lessons. They need to build upon the jazz work that has come before them in order to create something new and exciting that reflects an authentic connection to jazz.
The students at the Manhattan School Of Music are definitely some lucky young people, as they’ve got one of the most knowledgeable folks about the past, present, and future of jazz in Bobby Sanabria. He leads the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra with smarts and style, making sure that the students are aware of the importance of Puente, Machito, and Bauza, so that they are ready to push the style into the next generation. That’s a lesson that was clearly evident on two of the group’s most recent recordings, Kenya Revisited Live and Tito Puente Masterworks Live, where the group revisited some of the most important Latin Jazz compositions in history. It was more than a simple recreation of past recordings though – this band tore through these charts live with passion and knowledge, showing that they’d done their studies. Sanabria makes sure that these folks know more than just their Latin rhythms though, these musicians leave their time with the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra connected to the greater tradition. As a result, these are folks that are ready to make their mark onto the jazz world, and it will be one filled with an authentic connection to jazz.
This video shows the depth of Sanabria’s teaching as the musicians in the Manhattan School Of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra step outside the world of Latin Jazz and even make a move outside modern jazz. In celebration of Duke Ellington Day 2013, these young musicians are diving headfirst into a second line New Orleans groove, including parade and all. We don’t have the rest of this live performance, but there’s no doubt that these musicians could have been ripping apart a furious mambo and then getting into this amazingly addictive groove – now that’s a connection to the greater history of jazz.
Check out Bobby Sanabria’s Website
Check out some recordings from Bobby Sanabria & The Manhattan School OF Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra:
Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra Performing Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!!, Bobby Sanabria & Manhattan School Of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra
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Album Of The Week: Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!!, Bobby Sanabria Conducting The Manhattan School Of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra
Chucho Valdes & Paquito D’Rivera Performing Claudia