Bobby Sanabria, an alumnus of Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra--not to mention, many more high-profile bands like Tito Puente’s or Mongo Santamaria’s--has retained the spirit of the trumpet legend and one of the true originators of jazz, particularly by joining the vocabulary of jazz with the meters of Latin music. On ¡Quarteto Aché!
Sanabria makes plain his debt by bookending the tracks with Dizzy’s "Shaw ‘Nuff" and "Be-Bop." But it’s what Sanabria does with the music that makes ¡Quarteto Aché!
a CD not only worth having, but also worth celebrating.
Sanabria is following up on his highly acclaimed (to say the least!) CD recorded live at Birdland, Live & In Clave!!!,
with a band reduced from 19 pieces to four. Even though saxophonist Jay Collins, pianist John di Martino and bassist Boris Kozlov appeared in Sanabria’s big band, or perhaps because
they played in it, the fire and complexity of the music aren’t diminished. In fact, once the music sinks in, the interesting aspect of Sanabria’s quartet is the fact that it sounds larger than it actually is due to the musicians’ energy and technical proficiency. Jay Collins absorbs the essence of Sanabria’s approach and digs right in, building solos that elucidate the meaning of the tunes but also that craft a personalized message.
For instance, "El Trane," which refers both to Elvin Jones and to John Coltrane, combines the polyrhythmic statements of the drummer with the spiritual implications of the saxophonist for a multi-part composition, written by Sanabria. Featuring Collins’ dual-horn harmony at the beginning, "El Trane" then leads into a hard swing that gives the impression of an approaching abandonment of metrical constraints, only to be pulled back again. A true showpiece of a composition, "El Trane" goes on to let the listener know just supremely talented the members of the group are. Di Martino takes over in a hard-driving piano solo before everything breaks loose. And Kozlov and Sanabria end the piece, Sanabria exploding with a final burst of a conclusive statement and then Kozlov shrewdly and subtly quoting a phrase from "A Love Supreme."
"Child’s Walk" is just as successful a performance, as Kozlov and di Martino set up the 5/4 vamp in harmony before Collins develops the whimsical melody on soprano sax and flute. Eventually, clavé interrupts the off-metered vamp, somewhat like the "Mission Impossible" theme’s, only to insert an even more difficult to perform but pleasing to hear meter. On "Soleshia," the group successfully creates a contrast between Sanabria’s introductory African-derived percussive statement and the relaxed sheen on Collins’ soprano sax solo, only to return to the opening rhythmic statement, this time with Yorubic chanting.
All in all, Sanabria has built upon the success of Live & In Clave!!!
with another recording deserving of further acclaim that communicates thrill and spiritual essence. As a result, Sanabria has established himself as one of today’s leading drummers recording the synthesis of jazz and Latin rhythms.