Ache refers to the positive energy of "may the force be with you." It's Sanabria's favorite concept, one he used a decade ago (New York City Ache! on Flying Fish). His latest release as a leader reveals his nonstop energy from, literally, beginning to end: the first track, "Shaw 'Nuff," starts with a Puentelike shout; the final track, "Be-Bop," closes with a shouted tribute to Gillespie, who just happened to write both lines. The only track worth skipping, despite Boris Kozlov's delicious walking, is a brief Kerouaclike reading of "Blue" by Sanabria's 15-year-old son. Everything else is explosive.
Sanabria is a human rhythm machine who constantly propels and in the process lights a fire under Jay Collins, who responds with searing solos on tenor and soprano. Collins also highlights the most introspective track on the date, "Ebb & Flow," on flute. Pianist John di Martino also responds to Sanabria's spark, particularly on "El Trane." As liner annotator Bill Milkowski points out, "El Trane" is a double tribute by Sanabria to the percussive chops of Elvin Jones and the harmonic vision of Coltrane. It also explains Kozlov's arco interpolation of a Trane lick from "A Love Supreme."
The CD is a primer on ethnomusicology, underscoring Sanabria's credentials as a jazz educator steeped in Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, Brazilian and African rhythms. A worthy addition is di Martino's original "Aum," based on Arabic scales, effectively interpreted by Collins' flute.
After Quarteto Ache!, a second Grammy nomination for Sanabria would not be surprising.