Percussion master part of Butler ArtsFest

Butler jazz ensembles will be performing with a world-famous percussionist at the 2013 Butler ArtsFest.

Bobby Sanabria, a seven-time Grammy Award-nominated percussionist, will perform with two Butler big bands on Saturday, April 20.

“When I was planning our involvement in the Artsfest, I wanted something that was going to be a really tremendous cultural experience for the students,” jazz studies director Matt Pivec said.

Sanabria is renowned in Afro-Cuban jazz music, a style which combines Afro-Cuban clave rhythms with traditional jazz.

Originating in New York, the Afro-Cuban jazz movement had a strong influence on jazz beginning in the 1940s.

“The spirit of the music is the same in that there is a lot of improvisation and spontaneity,” Pivec said.

Sanabria grew up in the tradition of Afro-Cuban jazz in the Bronx, New York.

He has performed with some of the most celebrated names in Afro-Cuban jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie and Mario Bauza.

The jazz students have been working on music that is especially demanding rhythmically, senior percussionist Chelsea Hughey said.

“For someone who is not well- versed in this style of music, it can be very challenging,” Hughey said.

Pivec is enthusiastic that his students will be inspired by the performance.

“They’re really going to be affected by Sanabria’s passion and drive,” Pivec said. “To have an experience with someone of that caliber gives them a sense of what is needed to be successful at that level.”

Students and faculty agree the performance should be a great ArtsFest component.

“The ArtsFest as a whole should be an unbelievable experience for our students and a great opportunity for the Jordan College (of the Arts) to showcase itself to the community,” Pivec said.

While Sanabria is recognized as a performer, he is also known as an enthusiastic teacher of Afro-Cuban jazz.

“He’s all about education and teaching style,” Hughey said. “He can help us become well-versed in Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz.”

It is Sanabria’s plan to educate the community on jazz as a whole.

“It takes years and years for a jazz musician to learn their craft and exude on an emotional level on the instrument,” Sanabria said. “That’s something that needs to be reintroduced into the culture of young people.”

The performance provides the opportunity to hear historically significant music and is one that students and community members will want to attend.

“It’s everybody’s right as an American citizen to be exposed to jazz,” Sanabria said. “In terms of the American experience, it is the greatest art form that this country has brought forth for the world.”


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