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Multiverse: Bobby Sanabria Big Band

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Boldly ambitious and muscular but also smart, knowledgeable and mindful of the traditions at play, Multiverse might be drummer, composer, arranger and educator Bobby Sanabria’s finest work to date. It suggests a summation of many years of living and playing right at the crossroads where jazz and Afro-Latin traditions have met, clashed, borrowed from each other and reinvented themselves many times over. It also speaks of an inclusive vision rooted in practice and daily living. After all, if going from a guaguancó to swing to a bomba groove to a bolero and back, or including a guiro and a didgeridoo, all sounds natural here, it’s no doubt in part because, with Sanabria, the music sounds lived-in. In Multiverse, to list the parts is to miss the whole.

The playing is consistently tight throughout, and the soloing by and large eschews look-at-me pyrotechnics in favor of no-nonsense contributions to the overall sense of the music. (And there are some notable contributions throughout.)

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