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Bobby Sanabria: Big Band Urban Folktales

Big Band Urban Folktales swings as hard as one could want, yet offers music that will excite dancers skilled enough to keep up with the often driving polyrhythms. Add to that some strong soloists and you have a powerful combination.

Sanabria, drums, percussion, vibraphone, marimba, etc., has assembled first-rate players for the tight, mostly fiery ensembles, as well as soloists that consistently add fuel. With the exception of two vocal tracks, “Since I Fell for You,” featuring Charenee Wade, and “Besame Mucho,” spotlighting 76-year-old Hiram Remon, the band smokes its way through a variety of material by numerous composers.

“57th St. Mambo,” written by Michael Phillip Mossman and holding his high-octane trumpet solo, gets things started with a distilled Dizzy Gillespie essence, followed by Chris Washburne’s “Pink,” with the composer offering a more than solid bass trombone solo. Also noteworthy on the track is tenor saxophonist Jeff Lederer. “D Train” spotlights solos by trombonist Tim Sessions, trumpeter Andrew Neesley and Lederer. “El Lider” kicks it up a bit and features solo outings by Washburne and the tune’s composer, baritone saxophonist Ricardo Pons.

The session’s most serious work is Eugene Marlow’s “El Ache de Sanabria en Moderacion,” an ever-shifting effort that often seems a bit too busy, yet has its moments. The forceful “The Crab” features solos by composer Joe Fiedler on trombone, tenor saxophonist Peter Bainin and pianist Yeissonn Villamar. Hermeto Pascoal’s “O Som do Sol” lightens things a little, then Sanabria’s “Blues for Booty Shakers” brings in a bit of funk. Frank Zappa’s “The Grand Wazoo” continues the varied direction without losing the Latin touch. “Obrigado Mestre,” another Pascoal work, closes the album with solos by Lederer, Neesley and David de Jesus, alto sax.

Originally Published