|Birth name||Robert Sanabria|
|Born||June 2, 1957|
|Origin||South Bronx, New York City, US|
|Genres||Afro-Cuban jazz - Latin jazz - jazz|
Bobby Sanabria is a 7x Grammy nominated (as a leader) American drummer of Puerto Rican descent who is also a percussionist, composer, arranger producer, documentary film producer, educator and writer specializing in Latin jazz and Jazz.
Sanabria was born at St. Francis Hospital in the South Bronx, where he grew up. He is of Puerto Rican ancestry: his father, José, comes from the barrio of Ensenada in Guanica, Puerto Rico, while his mother, Juanita, comes from the barrio of Jacanas, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico.
He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1975 to 1979, graduating in 1979. He received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1983 and was a featured performer on the Mambo Kings film soundtrack. He also appeared on The Bill Cosby Show with the Mario Bauza orchestra.
Sanabria often performs in New York public schools as part of the Arts Exposure Program. He has written articles for Modern Drummer magazine and has been interviewed by the magazine several times. He currently teaches an Afro-Cuban Big Band ensemble at the Manhattan School of Music and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.
He has performed with Mario Bauza, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría, Chico Freeman, Paquito D'Rivera, Candido, Ray Barretto, Chico O'Farrill, Francisco Aguabella, Henry Threadgill, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Daniel Ponce, Michael Gibbs, Charles McPherson, Phil Wilson, and Marco Rizo.
Afro-Cuban Dream: Live and in Clave! and Big Band Urban Folktales were nominated for a Grammy award. Multiverse has been nominated for two Grammy Awards, Best Latin Jazz Recording and best Instrumental Arrangement - Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite for Ellington.
As a leader
- 1993 - ¡New York City Ache! featuring special guests Tito Puente & Paquito D'Rivera (originally released on Flying Fish, later re-released on Rounder Records) - NAIRD (National Association of Independent Record Distributors) nominee
- 2000 - Afro-Cuban Dream: Live and in Clave!!! w/special guests Candido & John Stubblefield - Bobby Sanabria Big Band (Arabesque) - NARAS Grammy nominee Best Latin Jazz Recording
- 2002 - Bobby Sanabria & ¡Quarteto Aché! (originally released on Khaeon, later re-released on ZOHO)
- 2003 - 50 Years of Mambo: A Tribute to Damaso Perez Prado - Mambo All-Stars Orchestra (Mambo Maniacs) - LARAS Latin Grammy nominee Best Traditional Tropical Recording
- 2007 - El Espiritu Jibaro (The Jibaro Spirit) Roswell Rudd & Yomo Toro featuring Bobby Sanabria & Ascensión
- 2007 - Big Band Urban Folktales - Bobby Sanabria Big Band (Jazzheads)- NARAS Grammy nominee Best Latin Jazz Recording, JJA Award (Jazz Journalists Association) Latin Jazz Album of the Year 2008 *2009 - Kenya Revisited Live!!! w/ special guest NEA Jazz Master Candido - Bobby Sanabria conducting the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra (Jazzheads) - LARAS Latin Grammy nominee Best Latin Jazz recording
- 2011 - Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!! Bobby Sanabria conducting the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra (Jazzheads) - LARAS Latin Grammy nominee Best Latin Jazz Recording
- 2012 - MULTIVERSE featuring special guests La Bruja & Chareneè Wade - Bobby Sanabria Big Band (Jazzheads) Grammy nominee Best Latin Jazz recording, Grammy nominee Best Instrumental Arrangement, Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite for Ellington (Michael Philip Mossman)
- Coming on April 6, 2014 Que Viva Harlem! (Jazzheads) The Manhattan School of Music conducted by Bobby Sanabria
Selected Discography •Bobby Sanabria - Multiverse, 2012 - drums, percussion, vocals, Grammy® nominee Best Latin Jazz Recording, Best Instrumental Arrangement (Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite for Ellington) •Eugene Marlow, A Fresh Take, 2011 drums, album co-producer. •Eugene Marlow, Celebrations: The Heritage Ensemble Interprets Festive Melodies from the Hebraic Songbook, 2010, drums, album co-producer. •Gabriele Tranchina, A Song of Love's Color, 2010, drums, album co-producer. • Bobby Sanabria conducts The Manhattan School of Music, Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!! 2009 (Jazzheads), Latin Grammy® nominee, Best Latin Jazz recording, drums, timbales, vibes, marimba, percussion, vocals. • Bobby Sanabria conducts the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Kenya Revisited Live!!!, 2009, (Jazzheads) Latin Grammy® nomination, Best Latin Jazz recording, drums, percussion •Bobby Sanabria Big Band, Big Band Urban Folktales, 2007, Jazzheads Grammy® nominee, Best Latin Jazz recording, drums, percussion, vocals, vibes, marimba •Roswell Rudd & Yomo Toro featuring Bobby Sanabria & Ascensión, El Espiritu Jibaro 2007, drums congas, percussion, vocals, producer. •Cándido, Hands of Fire, 2007, drums, producer •Joe Chambers, The Outlaw, 2006, congas, timbales, Cuban and Brazilian percussion •Joe Chambers, Urban Grooves, 2003, drums, congas, percussion •Bobby Sanabria & Quarteto Aché, Quarteto Aché, 2003, drums •50 Years of Mambo, A Tribute to Damaso Perez Prado, 2003 Latin Grammy® nominee, Best Tropical recording, drums •Larry Harlow & His Latin Jazz Encounter, Live at Birdland, 2002, drums, vocals, percussion •John Fedchock New York Big Band, NO Nonsense, 2002, congas, timbales, percussion •Joe Chambers, Urban Grooves, 2002, drums, congas, percussion •Ray Barretto & New World Spirit, Trancedance, 2001, batá, shekere, guiro, clave, percussion •Ray Barretto, Portraits In Jazz & Clave, 2000, batá, clave, guiro, shekere, percussion. •Jorge Sylvester, In the Ear of the Beholder, 2001, drums & all bells •Bobby Sanabria Big Band, Live & in Clave!!!, 2000, Grammy® nominee Best Latin Jazz Recording, drums, vibes, marimba, timpani, percussion, vocals •Mario Bauzá, Messidor's Finest, 1998, drums, timbales •William Cepeda, Afrorican Jazz…My Roots and Beyond, 1998, bongó, vocals •John Fedchock, On the Edge, 1998, conga, timbales, guiro •Larry Harlow, Larry Harlow's Latin Legends Band, 1998, drums •Charles McPherson, Manhattan Nocturne, 1998, congas, percussion •Michael Philip Mossman, Spring Dance, 1997, congas, percussion •Sekou Sundiata, Blue Oneness of Dreams, 1997, percussion, timbales, congas •Jorge Sylvester, Musicollage, 1996, congas, timbales •Mario Bauzá, 944 Columbus, 1993, drums, timbales, Grammy® nominee, Best Latin Jazz Recording •Bobby Sanabria & Ascensión, New York City Aché, 1993, drums timbales, congas, bongo', vibes, percussion, vocals •Paquito D'Rivera and the United Nations Orchestra, A Night in Englewood, 1993, percussion, bongós, conga, clavés, batá, guiro, Grammy® nominee, Best Big Band Performance •Mario Bauzá – My Time is Now, 1992, drums, timbales, Grammy® nominee, Best Latin Jazz Recording •The Mambo Kings Soundtrack, 1992, drums, timbales, percussion, Grammy ® nominee, Best Soundtrack Recording •Mario Bauzá, Tanga Suite, 1991, drums, timbales, Grammy® nominee, Best Latin Jazz Recording •Luis Perico Ortiz - Breaking The Rules, 1986, drums •Mongo Santamaria, Espiritu Libre/Free Spirit,1984, drums, timbales, percussion •Mongo Santamaria, Mongo Magic, 1983, drums, timbales, shekere, percussion
Documentary films and radio
Mr. Sanabria has been a consultant, on air personality and/or producer to several award winning, critically acclaimed documentaries
The Palladium - Where Mambo Was King (2004) 2 hours - directed by Kevin Kaufman - originally aired on the BRAVO network. Covers the history of the legendary N.Y.C. mambo palace which existed from 1948 till 1966. Mr. Sanabria was producer, historical consultant and on air personality. Winner of the IMAGE Award for Best Cable Documentary.
From Mambo to Hip - A Bronx Tale (2006) 1 hour - directed by Henry Chalfant - originally aired on PBS nationwide. Covers the spread of Afro-Cuban music, mambo culture in the South Bronx from the late 1940s, the redefining of Afro-Cuban based music into salsa, the devastation of the South Bronx in the 70's, into the birth of hip hop. Mr. Sanabria was a historical consultant and on air personality. Winner of the ALMA Award for Best Documentary.
Latin Music U.S.A. (2009) 4 hours - conceived by Elizabeth Deane and Miriam Bosch - originally aired on PBS nationwide and the BBC in Europe. 4 hour documentary series broadcast in 4 one hour weekly segments about the influence and place of various forms of Latin music in American culture. Mr. Sanabria was a historical consultant for episodes one and two and on air personality in episode one. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/latinmusicusa/
Forthcoming in late 2014... We Like It Like That - The History of Latin Boogaloo - directed by Matthew Warren - Mr. Sanabria appears as on air personality.
The Journey (2012) - From Africa to the New World - produced by Joyce Jones for WBAI FM, N.Y.C. - A 3-hour radio special that covered with music chosen by Mr. Sanabria the roots of various forms of Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican music from their West and Central Africa rhythmic roots to the present day.
Mr. Sanabria has written numerous articles for various publications including Modern Drummer, Traps, The N.Y. Daily News, just to name a few as well as liner notes for over 40 CD's. His essay, From Havana To Harlem: Afro-Cuban/Latin Jazz - An American Art Form, was published in the 2011 edition of the Racontuer - Literature, Culture, Society
- Bobby Sanabria official site
- Bobby Sanabria MySpace page
- Bobby Sanabria MusiCodex Page
- Allmusic entry
- Latin Percussion page
- Bobby Sanabria interview
- Bobby Sanabria interview
- NPR piece
- NPR piece
-  - New York Times