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Bobby Sanabria Big Band: Live and in Clave

In the 1940s Machito & his Afro-Cubans, under the musical direction of Mario Bauza, gave the world “Tanga,” the first real Latin jazz tune. It was a big band sound that, like bebop, drew from advanced harmonic concepts and hot rhythms, which inspired jazzers like Stan Kenton and youngsters like Tito Puente. The Latin big band faded in the 1960s but never died, as principal proponents like Bauza and Puente kept its flame lit. Today, a new generation is taking up that torch; leading the pack is Bobby Sanabria.

A trap-set player from New York City, who tenured in the Afro-Cuban jazz orchestra of Mario Bauza in the 1980s and ’90s, Sanabria is a propelling force who has mastered clave, the two-bar rhythmic pattern that anchors Cuban-based rhythms. On Live & in Clave the Bobby Sanabria Big Band pushes the envelope with a well-arranged book of charts that draws from a wide spectrum of influences. Recorded at Birdland, it’s a lively, upbeat performance of mambo-bop, as exemplified by “Mosscode,” a burner composed by and featuring trumpeter Michael Phillip Mossman.

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