BY ANDY DOERSCHUK
The award-winning, multiple Latin Grammy-nominated MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra — under the direction of multi-Grammy nominee Bobby Sanabria — offers up a dynamic, all-new program of Latin jazz compositions on November 4, at Manhattan School of Music at 7:30 p.m., with a repeat performance set for December 5 at the prestigious Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center (two sets: 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.).
Drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, educator, documentary film producer, multicultural warrior, and activist, Sanabria says, “We are truly excited to be celebrating the works of our current generation, expanding the canon of ‘la tradicion’ into and beyond the 21st century.”
MSM students and recent alumni wrote several of the evening’s premiere compositions, including “La Fruta” by alumnus Takao Heisho (BM ’12, MM ’14), who will perform with the orchestra on congas and drums. “La Fruta” is largely based on a 6/8 rhythm called bembe and concludes with the modern style of Cuban music called timba.
“‘La Fruta’ is my church music,” Heisho says. “I’ve been playing drums at a Nigerian church in Brooklyn every Sunday, and that gig has had huge influence on me, both in the way I play music and the way I approach music mentally.”
Andrew Karboski (BM ’17), composer of “One For The Record” — another of the new works being performed in the program — is completing his Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Composition this spring at MSM. “The Afro-Cuban musical traditions come from an amazingly rich cross-pollination of cultures, creating music and dance with components that can be traced back to any and every civilization,” says Karboski. “Tackling this music is an overwhelming task, but there is no better band in the world with which to make this journey than MSM’s own.”
The MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra plays to energetic, packed houses at MSM’s Neidorff-Karpati Hall (formerly Borden Auditorium) and Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola twice annually. The November 4 show at Neidorff-Karpati Hall is free. Go here to buy tickets to the December 5 performance at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.