"...What sets the worlds in motion is the interplay of differences, their attractions and repulsions. Life is plurality, death is uniformity. By suppressing differences and peculiarities, by eliminating different civilizations and cultures, progress weakens life and favors death. The ideal of a single civilization, for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us. Every view of the world that becomes extinct, every culture that disappears, diminishes a possibility of life." Octavio Paz, 1970
These words by the Mexican writer Octavio Paz describe Bobby Sanabria's cultural heritage and musical vision. As he always proudly proclaims, he is a Nuyorican from the South Bronx. He was raised in a time before the mass corporatization and commodification of media and popular culture affected the vacuous product that seems to pervade much of today's mainstream music scene. The Bronx in the 1960s and 1970s was the perfect cauldron, or caldera, of rich musical ingredients, the Crossroads, set apart, yet part of, the main road, where Elegua meets George Carlin, the place where Bobby was exposed to more than one sphere of being and knowinga figurative Multiverse." The Puerto Rican and Cuban rhythms of family and neighbors in the projects. The rock-n-roll riffs enjoyed by schoolmates. The jazz still played on the radio and used as soundtracks in movies and even cartoons. And the funk danced to by new b-boy crews in the parks and sidewalks of the Boogie Downall have left their aural mark in Bobby's musical development.
His music continues to celebrate these interplays" of differences and commonalities. What started off in his critically acclaimed Grammy-nominated big band album, Live and in Clave!!!, where this Nuyorican son excelled at playing the Cuban son, while performing at the temple of jazz, Birdland; to the Grammy-nominated Big Band Urban Folktales, where the sounds and experiences of life in New York City were woven into songs which are the soundscape for what Rubén Blades has called, the contemporary folklore of the City." And as we know, all magical things come in threes. Now there is Multiverse, the culmination of influences and inspirations, bringing together elders who guided his development, respected colleagues in the field, as well as some of his own talented former students
This Multiverse vision of jazz is rooted in a deep tradition that goes back to Africa, Cuba, New Orleans, to St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago and finally arrives and coalesces in New York City. Along the way Bobby's Multiverse has incorporated other influences thereby reaffirming jazz, challenging its tenets and expanding upon it. The jazz of the Multiverse rejects uniformity and embraces plurality. The fusion of different traditions and sounds does not destroy or dilute the traditional concepts of jazz, but creates other vibrant and interesting possibilities."
It is a multiplicity of styles all joined together by the virtuosity of the contemporary jazz musician and the forward thinking vision of a man who has, as he has stated, one foot in the past, one in the present, and his head always looking toward the future. Revel in the MULTIVERSE. Enjoy the ride.
This story appears courtesy of Two for the Show Media.
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