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Aché: from the Yoruba word for positive energy and power. To master drummer Bobby Sanabria, aché describes the fusion of Afro-Cuban and jazz rhythms, New York by way of West
Bobby Sanabria
Africa and Puerto Rico, in a Young Lords-Soul Power sort of way. Under his direction, these two genres are more akin to siblings than close cousins or best friends; improvisational, innovative, and resourceful, the conjoined twins who comprise Latin jazz have been responsible for each other's growth, development, and survival since their inception.

Latin jazz is somewhat of a misnomer for the sort of music Sanabria-the-percussionist plays. Sanabria-the-scholar-and-educator has likened jazz and Latin music to different branches of the same ancient African tree, a metaphor he has repeated both on his Web site - - and through numerous interviews. Not surprisingly, this philosophical understanding of music's interdependence and shared relationship extends to Sanabria's recordings as well. As an artist, he has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, and Mongo Santamaria, and spent several years with the late, great Mario Bauzá, pioneering director of the Machito's Afro-Cuban Jazz orchestra - the first "fusion band" to fully combine African-American jazz with Afro-Cuban rhythm. Sanabria pays a moving tribute to Bauzá (who Gillespie called "my teacher and father") on 1993's N.Y.C. Aché, a decade-old release which moves seamlessly across the centuries, paying homage to his predecessors and educating listeners on the depth and beauty of Afro-Cuban music.

Typically, Sanabria has worked with large ensembles, including the eight-piece Ascensión on N.Y.C. Aché, and the 19-piece Afro Cuban Dream Big Band, on 2000's Live & in Clave!!! Most recently, Sanabria recorded with ¡Quarteto Aché! His studio albums pack the energy of a live show; reduced to four members, their sound is as full and rich as any of his previous outings. The Quarteto's eponymously titled disk, released

Saturday, May 31
207-2234 (Carver box office)
Watson Fine Arts Center
St. Philip's College
1801 Martin Luther King Dr.
last October, features Sanabria interpreting Gillespie in the fast and furious opener, "Shaw 'Nuff," and equally energetic closer, the melodic "Be-Bop." Sandwiched between is a John Coltrane-Elvin Jones-inspired track, appropriately titled "El Trane," and a smoky recording of Sanabria's teenage son's poetic meditation on blue that brings to mind the cadence of the beatniks - or a Nuyorican Raul Salinas, which isn't too much of a conceptual leap. Judging from his touring schedule, Sanabria is as comfortable playing jazz festivals and dance halls as he is in more intimate settings, such as spoken-word venues like the Nuyorican Poets Café.

Aché meets oralé: Expect an education in culture and sound as Sanabria with ¡Quarteto Aché! visit San Antonio, land of conjunto music and chicken fried steak. Invited guests of the Carver Center, they will play at the Watson Fine Arts Center on Saturday, May 31; as an added bonus, Sanabria is conducting a master class in Afro-Cuban percussion techniques (at an affordable $5) the night before the performance. •

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