I decided on this kind of last minute. I’ve seen Bobby Sanabria in the listings often and have wanted to check him out for a while.
This show was part of TeatroStagefest, which is a Latin Theatre festival in NYC.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting his stage presence. He started by christening the audience with drops from his water bottle, saying any place jazz is played is sacred. He then told us he was going to take us from West Africa to … to Brazil to … to Cuba to New Orleans to Chicago to Kansas City and then to the center of the universe, Joe’s Pub in NYC. Something to that effect. It was also his birthday, and we all got a piece of birthday cake at the end.
The music was good. He started with a Dizzy Gillespie tune. I think he said he played with him. I didn’t recognize it, but I think he puts his own spin on anything he does. It seemed like that one song went through all the places he mentioned in the beginning. It would get jazz at times, funky at time, percussion-heavy African at times, and of course Latin at times. There was a lot of Latin feel in everything they did.
I do frown on people working so hard to get audience participation, and a particular audience participation at that. He was good at getting compliance, but still. At one point he had everyone up for a few minutes dancing. It didn’t last long, though. He got them to clap to the music a lot. I left at 10:55, I just wanted to save myself for the rest of the week. It was just before he was going to make everyone sing.
Overall, the music was enjoyable. I decided to get past the theatrics, since it was a theatrical festival. They also played for at least 1.5 hours, which was pretty good for that place.