MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra IN A CONCERT OF ALL-NEW WORKS November 4: Manhattan School of Music December 5: Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Jazz Club Coca-Cola

OCTOBER 28, 2016 (NEW YORK) – The award-winning MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra – under the direction of multi-Grammy award nominee Bobby Sanabria ­­– performs an all-new program of compositions on November 4 at Manhattan School of Music at 7:30 PM, with a repeat performance on December 5 at Lincoln Center’s prestigious Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (two sets: 7:30 & 9:30 PM).

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. This seasons’ performance is an exciting showcase of what’s new in afro-cuban jazz.

“We are honored to be celebrating the works of our current generation, expanding the canon of ‘la tradicion’ into and beyond the 21st century,” says Sanabria.

Several of the evening’s premiere compositions are written by MSM students and recent MSM alumni, including La Fruta by alumnus Takao Heisho (BM ’12, MM ’14), who will be performing 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,” says Heisho. “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 in his graduate year of Bachelor of Music in Jazz Composition studies 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.”



MSM’s Neidorff-Karpati Hall, Friday, Nov. 4, 7:30 PM

FREE, no tickets required

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Monday, Dec. 5, 7:30 & 9:30 PM

Tickets at or 212 258 9595

Press information: Caryn Toriaga,, or (917) 493-4429


Manhattan School of Music is one of the first conservatories in the United States to acknowledge the importance of jazz as an art form by establishing undergraduate and graduate degree programs in jazz. It is also one of the richest programs of its kind, thanks to systematic and rigorous conservatory training combined with a myriad of performance and networking opportunities in New York City. In addition to a variety of small combos, student ensembles include the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Concert Jazz Band, Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Philharmonic, and Chamber Jazz Orchestra. Under the leadership of longtime faculty member and eminent jazz artist-and-educator Justin DiCioccio, the program strives to produce students who perform, compose, and teach with equal facility and passion.


Bandleader and seven-time Grammy nominee, drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, educator, documentary film producer, multicultural warrior, and activist, Bobby Sanabria is a native Nuyorican born and raised in New York’s South Bronx. His unique perspective comes from having performed and/or recorded with every major figure in the development of what today is known as Latin jazz. From the genre’s acknowledged creator, maestro Mario Bauzá, for whom Bobby recorded three Grammy-nominated CDs and worked as the drummer in his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra for ten years, to Mongo Santamaria, with whom he started his career, to Tito Puente, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow, Candido, Dizzy Gillespie, Marco Rizo, and many more. Mr. Sanabria’s versatility and scope of musical influence as both a drummer and percussionist has extended to other forms of music. He has worked with such genre-bending artists as composers David Amram, Henry Threadgill, and poet Sekou Sundiata, as well as being named last year as the newest member of Max Roach’s legendary percussion ensemble, M’BOOM. A noted educator, clinician, and educator, he is on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music and of the Jazz & Contemporary Music Program at the New School and directs both schools’ Afro-Cuban jazz orchestras. He received Grammy nominations for the recordings Kenya Revisited Live!!! (2009), a masterful tribute and re-working of the Machito Afro-Cubans’ legendary Kenya album, and Tito Puente: Masterworks Live!!! (2011) as the director of the MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. He has worked as a producer, advisor, and on-air personality on the award-winning documentaries, The Palladium Where Mambo Was King (Bravo, 2003), From Mambo To Hip Hop (PBS, 2007), Latin Music U.S.A. (PBS, 2009), and the soon to be released I Like it Like That: The Story of Latin Boogaloo (2015). He is the Co-Artistic Director/Curator of the Bronx Music Heritage Center and the Artistic Director/Artist in Residence of the Roberto Ocasio Memorial Latin Jazz Camp for High School Students in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Sanabria is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1979. He proudly endorses TAMA Drums, Latin Percussion Inc., Vic Firth Sticks, Sabian Cymbals, and Remo Drumheads. His latest recording is the double Grammy nominated Multiverse (2012) on the Jazzheads label, featuring his 19-piece big band.


The multi-Latin Grammy-nominated MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Bobby Sanabria, has been internationally recognized for its recordings on the Jazzheads label as well as for performances at prestigious jazz conferences. In October 2012, the orchestra honored the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce with a concert that celebrated current and past performance venues that have called Harlem home. In 2009, they released the critically acclaimed Grammy-nominated CD, Kenya Revisited Live!!! . This recording, also featuring NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero, is from a historic concert held at MSM (2008) that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Machito & The Afro-Cubans’ 1957 jazz masterwork, Kenya. In 2011, the MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra under Maestro Sanabria’s leadership released the critically acclaimed Latin Grammy-nominated CD, Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!!. Audiophile Audition said about the recording, “The Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra is unrecognizable as a student ensemble … the soloists are of such a high level that none of them emerge as more memorable than the others.”

The MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra and Bobby Sanabria have performed sold-out shows at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and in NYC jazz venues such as Birdland and the Jazz Standard, as well as on the plaza of the Harlem State Office Building. Guest artists who have appeared with the ensemble include NEA Jazz Masters Ray Barretto and Candido Camero, Sonny Fortune, Tom Harrell, Arturo O’Farrill, Ronnie Cuber, and David Sanchez, among many others. The MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra and Bobby Sanabria are dedicated to performing the music of ‘la tradición,’ paying homage to these legends while continuing to pass on and advance the tradition to the next generation. Bobby Sanabria and the MSM Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra’s latest CD, ¡Qué Viva Harlem! was released on the Jazzheads label on April 8, 2014.


Founded as a settlement music school by Janet Daniels Schenck in 1918, today Manhattan School of Music is recognized for its 950 superbly talented undergraduate and graduate students who come from more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 states; a world-renowned artist-teacher faculty; and innovative curricula. The School is dedicated to the personal, artistic, and intellectual development of aspiring musicians, from its Precollege students through those pursuing postgraduate studies.

Offering both classical and jazz training – and, beginning in fall 2016, a Bachelor's degree program in musical theater – MSM grants Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, as well as the Professional Studies Certificate and Artist Diploma. Additionally, true to MSM's origins as a music school for children, the Precollege program continues to offer superior music instruction to young musicians between the ages of five and 18. The School also serves some 2,000 New York City schoolchildren through its Arts-in-Education Program, and another 2,000 students through its critically acclaimed Distance Learning Program.