Bobby Sanabria

To describe Bobby Sanabria as an elite drummer and percussionist is to describe only the tip of the iceberg. He is also an arranger, a producer, a composer, bandleader, educator and writer.

…and just as there are volumes to talk about behind each of the three words, “Afro Cuban Jazz”; so it goes with Bobby. As a drummer alone, in 1988 he took up the drum chair of the legendary Mario Bauza’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, an ensemble with a string of important musical “firsts” stretching back to the Machito Afro-Cubans in 1939. Bobby has played and recorded with legendary names like Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Chico O’Farrill, Mongo Santamaria, Chico Freeman, Paquito D’Rivera, Candido, Enry Threadgill, Ray Barretto, and dozens more.

He is the leader of three busy bands: Quarteto Ache’, Ascension, and his multi-Grammy nominated “Multiverse” Big Band. He has written dozens of articles on Latin Music and its central place in the evolution of jazz, rock, and pop music. He’s a conductor and educator at both the New School and the Manhattan School of Music. He’s a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a seven-time Grammy nominee, a featured performer on the Mambo Kings soundtrack, a community leader, and was even recruited as a producer, advisor and commentator for several award-winning documentaries on PBS.

If you want to understand rhythm in popular music, you must include Latin music. If you want to talk about Latin Music, you must include Bobby Sanabria.

Listen to the Bobby Sanabria Podcast

Bobby Sanabria Playlist

Para Los Rumberos – Tito Puente

Album: Cuban Carnival, 1956
Timbales: Tito Puente
Congas: Mongo Santamaria

The Pleasant Pheasant – Billy Cobham

Album: Crosswinds, 1974
Drums: Billy Cobham
Congas: Lee Pastora

Diabolus – Buddy Rich Big Band

Album: The New One!, 1968
Drums: Buddy Rich

Black Magic Woman — Santana

Album: Abraxas, 1970
Drums: Michael Shrieve
Percussion: Jose “Chepito” Areas
Percussion: Mike Carabello

Oye Como Va – Santana

Album: Abraxas, 1970
Drums: Michael Shrieve
Percussion: Jose “Chepito” Areas
Percussion: Mike Carabello

Abidjan — Ray Barretto

Album: Hard Hands, 1968
Congas: Ray Barretto
Timbales: Orestes Vilato

French Connection Theme — Bobby Sanabria Big Band

Album: Multiverse, 2012
Drums, percussion: Bobby Sanabria

Bobby’s Website