To kick off Puerto Rican Heritage Month, the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture will present the multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 7:30 p.m., performing a tribute to Puerto Rico’s greatest composer, Rafael Hernández, affectionately known as “El Jibarito Bohemio.” Sanabria’s 19–piece Multiverse Big Band will be joined by ten members of the Bronx Arts Ensemble string section and three guest vocalists performing arrangements of Hernández’s music. The performance will open with the 319th U.S. Army “Statue of Liberty” Band honoring Hernández’s service during World War I as a member of the legendary U.S. Army 369th “Harlem Hellfighters” Band and performing re-creations of repertoire of that esteemed ensemble.
Sanabria will lead the Mutiverse Big Band and the members of the Bronx Arts Ensemble String Section in a contemporary Latin jazz treatment of Hernández’s most celebrated works, including “Preciosa,” “El Cumbanchero,” and “Cachita,” among others.
“Wherever they may be in the diaspora, the music of Rafael Hernández represents the soul of the Puerto Rican people,” says Sanabria. “He is considered by many to be not only Puerto Rico's, but also Latin America's greatest composer. By the cognoscenti he is considered to be on the level of America's two greatest composers, Ellington and Gershwin. It has long been a dream of mine to produce a program totally devoted to this aspect of his music with my big band, along with the addition of a string section. That dream is realized with this concert."
Born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Rafael Hernández is regarded as the most important composer of Puerto Rican popular music in the 20th century. A multi-instrumentalist, he began his career as an adolescent with the San Juan Municipal Orchestra, and then served in the US Army 369th Battalion “Harlem Hellfighters” during World War I. Upon discharge from the military, he moved to New York, where he met important figures in the Puerto Rican musical community and began composing, which was followed by four years of directing the Orchestra of the Faustus Theater in Havana, Cuba. He returned to New York where he enjoyed success with songs such as “Siciliana,” “Me la pagarás” and “Menéalo.” After spending sixteen years in Mexico, where he composed "Lamento borincano" and "Preciosa,” and was a conductor at the National Conservatory, he returned to Puerto Rico to serve as Music Director of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. He died there in 1965.
A native “Nuyorican,” a Bronx Walk of Fame inductee, and seven-time Grammy nominee, Bobby Sanabria is a renowned drummer and percussionist who is also a noted bandleader, composer, arranger, producer, filmmaker, educator and activist. Known for his work in the jazz, Latin Jazz and Salsa genres, his diverse recording and performing experience includes work with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera, Charles McPherson, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, Marco Rizzo, Arturo Sandoval, Larry Harlow, and the heralded “godfather of Afro-Cuban Jazz,” Mario Bauza. Sanabria directs the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Big Band.
Formed in 1998, the 19-piece Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band has been hailed for its 21st century approach to the art of the large jazz ensemble. It has appeared at Italy’s Verona Jazz Festival, and Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and most recently on Central Park’s Great Lawn. Combining Latin, spiritual and folkloric influences along with jazz, funk, rock, rhythm and blues, and the avant-garde, the band’s music is inspired by the cultural diversity that is New York. All three of the band’s three recordings—Live & In Clave, Big Band Urban Folktales, and Multiverse, released in 2012—were nominated for Grammy awards.
In tribute to Hernández’s role as a trombonist with the 369th Army “Harlem Hellfighters” Band, which was conducted by legendary African American band director James Reese Europe, the 319th U.S. Army “Statue of Liberty” Band will perform re-creations of the “Harlem Hellfighters” repertoire. During World War I, the “Harlem Hellfighters” Band had the distinction of being the first musical group to expose European audiences to early jazz and ragtime. Commissioned in 1944, the 369th “Statue of Liberty” Band is based in Flushing, New York, and is now led by Chief Warrant Officer Luis Javier Santiago Sierra. A native of Yauco, Puerto Rico, Chief Santiago was formerly Bandmaster of the 248th Army Band in Puerto Rico, and he was appointed leader of the Statue of Liberty Band in February 2013.
The Bronx Arts Ensemble (BAE) is a professional performance ensemble with a year-round schedule of chamber music and orchestral concerts, as well as special programs for families and a full arts-in-education program for schools. Drawing on its Local 802 (A.F.M.) contract, the BAE’s players are among the finest freelance musicians in New York. With the flexibility of performing as a small group or full symphony, the BAE presents 100 concerts annually that reach an audience of over 50,000.
Tickets for this special concert are priced at $25.00, $30.00, and $35.00, and are available for purchase through the Hostos Box Office at 718-518-4455 and online at www.hostos.cuny.edu/culturearts. Tickets will also be available at the box office on the night of performance beginning at 5:30 PM.
Funding for this event is provided by the Hostos Community College Foundation with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Office of New York City Councilwoman María del Carmen Arroyo, the Bronx Council on the Arts and the Bronx Arts Ensemble.
BOBBY SANABRIA MULTIVERSE BIG BAND
Bobby Sanabria - drums, percussion, vocals, musical director
Hiram "El Pavo" Remon - lead vocals, percussion
Matthew Gonzalez - bongo'/cencerro, barril de bomba, vocals, percussion
Orestes Abrantes - congas, vocals, percussion
Enrique Haneine - piano
Leo Traversa - electric bass
David Dejesus - lead alto, soprano sax, clarinet, flute
John Beaty - alto, clarinet, flute
Peter Brainin - tenor, clarinet, flute
Jeff Lederer - tenor, flute
Danny Rivera - baritone, bass clarinet
Kevin Bryan - lead
Dave Miller - lead
Chris Washburne - bass tbn., tuba
GUEST VOCALISTS (alphabetical):
“Sanabria’s 19 piece band smokes fresh, high energy, emotional, but unsentimental, full of passions and energy…an artist ready to take his place in the continuum.”
“The Bobby Sanabria Big Band is a musical juggernaut…”
- Jazz Times
“It’s New York up and down, and back and forth across the last century, from the street to the mambo palaces to the conservatories”
– The NY Times
|Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band with U. S. Army 319th “Statue of Liberty” Band and members of the Bronx Arts Ensemble String Section
Tribute to Rafael Hernández Celebrating Puerto Rican Heritage Month
|Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.
The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY10451
IRT Trains 2, 4, 5 and Buses Bx1, Bx2, Bx19 to 149th Street and Grand Concourse
About the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture
The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture consists of a museum-grade art gallery, a 367-seat Repertory Theater, and a 900-seat Main Theater, presenting artists of national and international renown. It is easily accessible from Manhattan, Queens and New Jersey and is a mere 15 minutes by subway from midtown Manhattan.
About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "Student Success Coaching Unit" provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.
Hostos offers 29 associate degree programs and five certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of The City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges.
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