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Sunday 3/10 show: René Marie

Note: Suga’ in My Bowl’s new Behind the Mic blog is now up and running. We’ll use it to expand on some of the shows, artists, and ideas you’ve heard on the show and post related content, new release info, and provide a space for discussion. We’re still tweaking it, but invite you to head over and check it out.

Our home station WBAI is in a serious crisis due to back back rent owed on their transmitter at NYC’s Empire State Building. They’ve struggled in the past, but this time the situation is serious. Details are on the Pacifica Radio Network home page. You can also donate directly to the transmitter fund.

The next show will air on Sunday March 10, 2013 from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern Standard Time on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of the program will feature composer, vocalist and warrior queen René Marie. Listen to a short preview below:

rene14René Marie, the award winning singer whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel, has quickly become a heroine to many; a woman of great strength exuding stamina and compassion; often explaining how finding her voice and self through singing gave her the courage to leave an abusive marriage. But since the release of her recording debut, Renaissance, this Colorado based heroine has also evolved into one of the greatest and most sensuous vocalists of our time. Unmistakably honest and unpretentious while transforming audiences worldwide with her powerful interpretations, electrifying deliveries and impassioned vocals — René Marie has drawn a legion of fans and music critics who find themselves not only entertained, but encouraged and even changed by her performances.

It is hard to believe that Marie didn’t sing professionally until after she turned 40. But in fact, the Virginia native, married at 18, mother of two by 23 and a member of a strict religious group with her then husband only occasionally sang in public while she was focused on raising a family. It was in 1996 that Marie’s eldest son Michael urged her to take the plunge to pursue a career. “He told me that was exactly what I needed to do” she explains. Two years later following an ultimatum by her husband to either stop singing or leave their home, she chose to leave after 23 years of marriage.

Hosted, produced, and engineered by Joyce Jones.

Don’t forget to give to the WBAI Transmitter Fund. If there is no transmitter, there really is no WBAI.

Web extras

Listen to the full song “Black Lace Freudian Slip”. (Background music for the Suga’ show teaser.)

Watch René Marie sing “This is Not a Protest Song” live.

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Sunday 2/17 show: The Brazilian Journey with Dr. Judith King-Calnek

Note: Suga’ in My Bowl’s new blog, which we’re calling Behind the Mic is now up and running. We’ll use it to expand on some of the shows, artists, and ideas you’ve heard on the show and post related content, new release info, and provide a space for discussion. Right now, there’s a short interview with Dr. Judith King-Calnek, presenter of the Brazilian Journey. We’re still tweaking it, but invite you to head over and check it out.

The next show will air on Sunday February 17, 2013 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of the program will feature “The Brazilian Journey” presented by Dr. Judith King-Calnek. Join us as we do our part to continue an educational component of the Pacifica Mission during this Winter Membership Drive. Listen to a short preview below:

As Suga’ in My Bowl did with “The Journey” with Bobby Sanabria and “The Blues Journey” with Dr. Guthrie Ramsey, we tapped an expert to walk listeners through the presentation. “The Brazilian Journey” will take listeners on a trip through the development of the various styles of music that come from Brazil. While popularity in the US was spurred on by the Bossa Nova invasion and the legendary soundtrack of the film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus), there’s much more history and context and King-Calnek presents a lot of it. In signature Suga’ style, it’s accompanied by an infectious soundtrack and shaped by Joyce Jones’s meticulous editing.

The entire Brazilian Journey is a multi-CD set that listeners can receive as a gift for pledging to WBAI and will serve as a gateway to the music, culture, and history of Brazil for curious listeners. Even then, it presents a challenge for Dr. King-Calnek, who warns that she’s “just offering a very small taste, the tip of the iceberg, if you will, to whet your appetite for the delicious world of Things Brazil”.

This show will present highlights of “The Brazilian Journey” while attempting to raise badly needed funds for WBAI. Join us on this journey. Donate to WBAI or pledge if you can, but be sure to join us for Suga’ in My Bowl’s latest musical trip.

277104_104534876398647_442744346_nJudith King-Calnek teaches anthropology, theory of knowledge and history at the United Nations International School, where she is the Head of the Humanities Department. She has taught anthropology at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. Her publications have focused on education and citizenship in various contexts (international schools, Brazil and the United States). Her most recent publications on free people of color in 19th Century Virginia reflect her continued interest in the intersection of race/color and citizenship in socially stratified societies. King-Calnek holds a Ph.D. in comparative education and anthropology from Teachers College Columbia University as well as two master’s degrees (curriculum and teaching and anthropology and education) from the same institution, and a BA from Pomona College. In addition to her teaching and researching, Judith King-Calnek pursues her long time love of Brazilian music and jazz as a radio programmer and producer in the New York area, for which she has received numerous awards. Dr. King-Calnek also hosted a program on the Pacifica sister station WPFW-FM. She is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.

Hosted by Joyce Jones.

Sunday 2/3 Show: Lou Donaldson

Suga' in My Bowl guest Jazz Master Lou DonaldsonThe next show will air on Sunday February 3, 2013 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of Suga’ will feature one of the 2013 NEA Jazz Master recipients, alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson. This program originally aired in May 2009 and focused on recordings that were sampled by hip hop artists to lead up to the June Hip Hop Takeover.

You can hear a 30-second preview below.

Donaldson has long been an excellent bop altoist influenced by Charlie Parker, but with a more blues-based style of his own. His distinctive tone has been heard in a variety of small-group settings, and he has recorded dozens of worthy and spirited (if somewhat predictable) sets throughout the years.

Donaldson started playing clarinet when he was 15, soon switching to the alto. He attended college and performed in a Navy band while in the military. Donaldson first gained attention when he moved to New York and in 1952 started recording for Blue Note as a leader. At the age of 25, his style was fully formed, and although it would continue growing in depth through the years, Donaldson had already found his sound. In 1954, he participated in a notable gig with Art Blakey, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, and Tommy Potter that was extensively documented by Blue Note and that directly predated the Jazz Messengers. However, Donaldson was never a member of the Messengers, and although he recorded as a sideman in the ’50s and occasionally afterwards with Thelonious Monk, Milt Jackson, and Jimmy Smith, among others, he has been a bandleader from the mid-’50s up until the present.

Donaldson’s early Blue Note recordings were pure bop. In 1958, he began often utilizing a conga player, and starting in 1961, his bands often had an organist rather than a pianist. His bluesy style was easily transferable to soul-jazz, and he sounded most original in that context. His association with Blue Note (1952-1963) was succeeded by some excellent (if now-scarce) sets for Cadet and Argo (1963-1966). The altoist returned to Blue Note in 1967 and soon became caught up in the increasingly commercial leanings of the label. For a time, he utilized an electronic Varitone sax, which completely watered down his sound. The success of “Alligator Boogaloo” in 1967 led to a series of less interesting funk recordings that were instantly dated and not worthy of his talent. These particular Blue Note recordings were often sampled by hip hop artists.

Next show: Sunday 10/7 Afro Caribbean and Blues Journeys

The next show will air on Sunday 10/7/2012 from 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org.

This installment of the program will feature encore presentations of two very special audio documentaries chronicling the development of African disapora music. “The Journey: From Africa to the New World Through Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Haiti and Beyond” is presented by drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, multicultural warrior educator Bobby Sanabria. “The Blues Journey,” is courtesy of Dr. Guthrie Ramsey, Professor of Music History at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sanabria’s “The Journey” takes listeners on a musical and historical trip that brilliantly and plainly explains how African musical elements and cultural forms spread across the globe to shape music and culture in the Americas. Countless musical examples make this a deeply engaging and lively presentation. Listen to a short preview of his presentation:

In “the Blues Journey”, Dr. Ramsey lays out his theory of the American music form known as The Blues and expands it beyond the standard 12-bar blues understanding to show how it seeps into several musical forms and areas of cultural expression. Listen to a short preview of his presentation:


Join us as we help continue the important work of WBAI during the Fall Membership Drive. “The Journey” was one of the year’s most popular fund drive programs and got such positive feedback that we followed it up with “The Blues Journey”. You can help keep the station (and us) on the air by pledging for either “The Journey” with Bobby Sanabria, “The Blues Journey” with Dr. Guthrie Ramsey (or both!) on CDs as a thank you gift. Or simply make a donation to the station. Whatever you decide, be sure to tune in for some great music and information.

Hosted, produced, and engineered by Joyce Jones.

Next show: Sunday 7/8 with Christian McBride on Jazz Fusion

The next show will air on Sunday June 8, 2012 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org and feature a return visit from previous Suga’ guest Christian McBride. You can hear a 30-second preview below:

In this installment, we’ll have a discussion about the music that is called “Jazz Fusion” with bassist, composer and Grammy winner Christian McBride, who recently won a Grammy for one of his latest two recordings, “The Good Feeling.”

Beginning in 1989, this Philadelphia-born bassist moved to New York City to further his classical studies at the Juilliard School, only to be snatched up by alto saxophonist, Bobby Watson. Since then, McBride’s list of accomplishments have been nothing short of staggering. As a sideman in the jazz world alone, he’s worked with the best of the very best – Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny. In the R&B world, he’s not only played with, but also arranged for Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, and the one and only Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. In the pop/rock world, he’s extensively collaborated with Sting, Carly Simon, Don Henley, and Bruce Hornsby. In the hip-hop/neo-soul world, he’s collaborated with the Roots, D’Angelo, and Queen Latifah. In many other specialty projects, he’s worked closely with opera legend Kathleen Battle, bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, the Shanghai Quartet and the Sonus Quartet.

Away from the bass, Christian has become quite an astute and respected spokesperson for the music. In 1997, he spoke on former President Bill Clinton’s town hall meeting “Racism in the Performing Arts”. In 2000, he was named Artistic Director of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Sessions. In 2005, he was officially named the co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Also in 2005, he was named the second Creative Chair for Jazz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

Hosted by Arts Producer Joyce Jones

Next show: Sunday, 6/17 with James Mtume on Miles Davis’s electric period

This installment will feature composer, producer and former percussionist with Miles Davis during his “electric period” James Mtume from 1971 to 1975. It will air on Sunday June 17, 2012 at 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. You can hear a 30-second promo below:

James Mtume was raised in a musical family where his father and uncles formed a band “The Heath Brothers”. Already in the sixties, James Mtume studied percussion and soon after this, he also acquired guitar playing skills. It didn’t take long before he played together with artists like Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and eventually became the percussionist for Miles Davis. In the Miles Davis band, Reggie Lucas played guitar, and it was with Reggie Lucas that James Mtume started a song writing partnership that became the R&B group Mtume.

Mtume recorded as a bandleader for Strata-East before turning to funk in the late ’70s. Mtume’s band included the sassy, sultry vocalist Tawatha Agee, keyboardist Phil Fields, and bassist Ray Johnson. Mtume, the band, had a number one R&B hit with “Juicy Fruit” for Epic Records in 1983 and a number 2 R&B single in 1984 with “You, Me and He”. Mtume recorded for Epic until the late ’80s. Their final Top Ten hit was “Breathless” in 1986. Mtume produced and/or wrote for such artists as Stephanie Mills, Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway, Phyllis Hyman, Gary Bartz, Sadane, Lou Rawls, Rena Scott, Eddie Henderson in the late ’70s, Levert, Tyrone Brunson, Roy Ayers, Henderson and Tease. Roots and Influences: Miles Davis and Pharoah Sanders. Mtume’s hits for Robert Flack and Donny Hathaway include “The Closer I Get To You” and “Back Together Again”, both platinum sellers and widely viewed “classic songs” in the business.

Hosted by Joyce Jones.

Web extra: Watch this discussion between jazz critic Stanley Crouch and James Mtume on the music of Miles Davis’s electric period. If you have an older computer or slower internet connection, changing the video quality to a lower setting will give you smoother play with fewer interruptions. Youtube explains how to do that here.

Part 1: 14 minutes, 40 seconds

Part 2: 14 minutes, 9 seconds

Next Show: Sunday 6/3 on Betty Carter

This installment will focus on the music and career of Ms. Betty Carter. There will be discussions with Ms. Ora Harris, Ms. Carter’s manager and friend, and pianist Danny Mixon. It will air on Sunday June 6, 2012 at 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. You can listen to the 30-second promo here.

Betty Carter was born Lillie Mae Jones in Flint, MI, on May 16, 1930 (though some sources list 1929 instead). She grew up in Detroit, where her father worked as a church musical director, and she started studying piano at the Detroit Conservatory of Music as a child. In high school, she got hooked on bebop, and at 16 years old, she sat in with Charlie Parker during the saxophonist’s Detroit gig. She won a talent contest and became a regular on the local club circuit, singing and playing piano, and also performed with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, and Billy Eckstine when they passed through Detroit. When Lionel Hampton came to town in 1948, he hired her as a featured vocalist. Initially billed as Lorraine Carter, she was soon dubbed “Betty Bebop” by Hampton, whose more traditional repertoire didn’t always mesh with her imaginative flights of improvisation. In fact, according to legend, Hampton fired Carter seven times in two and a half years, rehiring her each time at the behest of his wife Gladys. Although the Betty Bebop nickname started out as a criticism, it stuck, and eventually Carter grew accustomed to it, enough to permanently alter her stage name.

Carter and Hampton parted ways for good in 1951, and she hit the jazz scene in New York City, singing with several different groups over the next few years. She made a few appearances at the Apollo, performing with bop legends like Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach, and cut her first album for Columbia in 1955 with pianist Ray Bryant (the aptly titled Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant). A 1956 session with Gigi Gryce went unissued until 1980, and in 1958 she cut two albums, I Can’t Help It and Out There, that failed to attract much notice. She spent 1958 and 1959 on the road with Miles Davis, who later recommended her as a duet partner to Ray Charles. Carter signed with ABC-Paramount and recorded The Modern Sound of Betty Carter in 1960, but it wasn’t until she teamed up with Charles in 1961 for the legendary duet album Ray Charles and Betty Carter that she finally caught the public’s ear. A hit with critics and record buyers alike, Ray Charles and Betty Carter spawned a classic single in their sexy duet version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and even though the album spent years out of print, it only grew in stature as a result.

Oddly, in the wake of her breakthrough success, Carter effectively retired from music for much of the ’60s in order to concentrate on raising her two sons. She did return briefly to recording in 1963 with the Atco album ‘Round Midnight, which proved too challenging for critics expecting the smoothness of her work with Charles, and again in 1965 with the brief United Artists album Inside Betty Carter. Other than those efforts, Carter played only sporadic gigs around New York, and was mostly forgotten.

Unable to interest any record companies, Carter founded her own label, Bet-Car, and released her music on her own for nearly two decades. At the Village Vanguard, a live recording made in 1970, is generally acknowledged as ranking among her best. Carter spent most of the decade touring extensively to help make ends meet, maintaining a trio that evolved into a training ground for young jazz musicians; she preferred to seek and develop new talent as a way of keeping her own music fresh and vital. Over the years, her groups included musicians like pianists Jacky Terrasson, Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Green, John Hicks, Stephen Scott, and Mulgrew Miller; bassists Dave Holland, Buster Williams, Curtis Lundy, and Ira Coleman; and drummers Jack DeJohnette, Lewis Nash, Kenny Washington, Winard Harper, and Greg Hutchinson.

Carter delivered standout performances at the Newport Jazz Festival in both 1977 and 1978, setting her on the road to a comeback. In 1979, she recorded The Audience With Betty Carter, regarded by many as her finest album and even as a landmark of vocal jazz. 1982 brought a live album with orchestra backing, Whatever Happened to Love?, and five years later, she recorded a live duets album with Carmen McRae at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall. She continued to tour as well, and when Polygram’s reactivated Verve label started signing underappreciated veterans (Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, Nina Simone, etc.), they gave Carter her first major-label record deal since the ’60s. Verve reissued much of her Bet-Car output, giving those records far better distribution than they’d ever enjoyed, and Carter entered the studio to record a brand-new album, Look What I Got, which was released to excellent reviews in 1988. It also won Carter her first Grammy, signaling that critics and audiences alike had finally caught up to her advanced, challenging style.

Over the next few years, Carter continued to turn out acclaimed albums for Verve, winning numerous reader’s polls with recordings like 1990’s Droppin’ Things, 1992’s It’s Not About the Melody, 1994’s live Feed the Fire, and 1996’s I’m Yours, You’re Mine. Additionally, she expanded her interest in developing new jazz talent through her Jazz Ahead program, which began in 1993 and offered young musicians the chance to workshop with her at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She also gave presentations on jazz to students of all ages, and remained an outspoken critic of the watered-down quality of much contemporary jazz. She performed at the Lincoln Center in 1993, and the following year for President Clinton at the White House; three years later, he presented her with a National Medal of Arts. Carter lost a battle with pancreatic cancer on September 26, 1998, passing away at her home in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.

Hosted by Joyce Jones

Next show: Sunday 5/6 with Bobby Sanabria

The next show will air on Sunday 5/6/2012 from 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. Listen to the 1 minute promo below (may not work in all browsers, especially mobile ones):

This installment of the program will feature an encore presentation of “The Journey: From Africa to the New World Through Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Haiti and Beyond” presented by drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, multicultural warrior educator Bobby Sanabria. Join us as we help continue the important work of WBAI during the Spring Membership Drive. “The Journey” was one of the most popular programs in the last WBAI fund drive, so we’re offering it again. You can help the station (and us) by pledging for the full audio documantary on CDs as a thank you gift here or simply making a donation to the station here.

Bobby, the son of Puerto Rican parents, was born and raised in the “Fort Apache” section of New York Bobby SanabriaCity’s South Bronx. Inspired and encouraged by maestro Tito Puente, another fellow New York-born Puerto Rican, Bobby “got serious” and attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music from 1975 to 1979, obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree and receiving their prestigious Faculty Association Award for his work as an instrumentalist. Since his graduation, Bobby has become a leader in the Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and jazz fields as both a drummer and percussionist, and is recognized as one of the most articulate musician-scholars of la tradición living today, and is a Professor at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

He has been featured on numerous Grammy-nominated albums, including The Mambo Kings and other movie soundtracks, as well as numerous television and radio work. Bobby was the drummer with the legendary “Father of the Afro-Cuban Jazz movement,” Mario Bauzá’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. With them he recorded three CD’s (two of which were Grammy-nominated) which are considered to be definitive works of the Afro-Cuban big-band jazz tradition. Bobby was also featured with the orchestra in two PBS documentaries about Bauzá and also appeared on the Bill Cosby show performing with the orchestra. He also appeared and performed prominently in a PBS documentary on the life of Mongo Santamaria.

Bobby is also an award-winning documentary producer whose films include The Palladium—Where Mambo Was King, shown on BRAVO, and From Mambo to Hip Hop—A South Bronx Tale, shown on PBS; he was a featured interviewee in both films. In 2005, Bobby was voted Percussionist of the Year by the readers of DRUM! magazine. In 2006, he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame and had a street named after him in recognition of the global impact of his work in the arts.

Bobby has been active in the effort to restore the 31 Grammy categories that were removed from awards ceremony. Find out more at http://www.grammywatch.org/.

Hosted by Joyce Jones.

Next show: Sunday 3/18 with Carol Maillard of Sweet Honey in the Rock

Carol Maillard from the vocal group Sweet Honey in the Rock
This installment will feature singer, actress and one of the founding members for the vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock: Carol Maillard. It will air on Sunday March 18 2012 at 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org.

Carol Maillard was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although she originally attended Catholic University of America on scholarship as a Violin Performance major, she soon began writing music and performing with the Drama Department and eventually changed her major to Theater.

This passion for the stage brought her to the D.C. Black Repertory Company and the beginnings of the vocal ensemble that was to become Sweet Honey In The Rock founded by Bernice Johnson Reagon in 1973 (with Mie, Carol Maillard and Louise Robinson). Carol is an accomplished actress and has performed in film, television and on stage. Her theater credits encompass a wide range of styles from musical comedy and revues to drama and experimental. She has performed on and off Broadway (“Eubie,” “Don’t Get God Started,” “Comin’ Uptown,” “Home,” “It’s So Nice To Be Civilized,” “Beehive,” “Forever My Darling”); with the Negro Ensemble Company (“Home,” “Zooman and the Sign,” “Colored Peoples Time,” “The Great Mac Daddy”); and the New York Shakespeare Festival (“Spunk,” “Caucasian Chalk Circle,” “Under Fire,” “A Photograph…”); also at the Actors Studio (“Hunter”). She can be seen in the feature films “Beloved” and “Thirty Years to Life.” On television, Carol has appeared in “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide” and “Halleluiah!” ( PBS) ; “Law and Order: SVU” and “Law and Order.”

As a member of Sweet Honey in the Rock, her powerful rendition of Motherless Child arranged for Sweet Honey, is featured in the motion picture, “The Visit” and the Dorothy Height documentary, “We Are Not Vanishing.” Carol was Conceptual Producer for the documentary film on PBS’ American Masters 2005 – “Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice!” Produced and directed by Stanley Nelson (Firelightmedia Films), the film chronicled Sweet Honey’s 30th Anniversary year (2003).

As a vocalist, she has had the privilege to record with Horace Silver, Betty Buckley, and the SYDA Foundations inspirational recording “Sounds of Light.”

(Biography from the Sweet Honey in the Rock website)

Next show: 2/5 with Bobby Sanabria

Audio Archive Update: Our audio archives are now back up and running after moving the sound files to a new storage location. This should be more reliable. If you tried to listen to an archived show recently and it didn’t work, please try again: everything should be fine now. If not, send us a note from the contact page. Thanks!

The next show will air on Sunday 2/5/2012 from 11:00pm – Monday at 1:00am on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. Listen to the 1 minute promo below (may not work in all browsers, especially mobile ones):

This installment of the program will feature “The Journey: From Africa to the New World Through Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Haiti and Beyond” presented by drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, multicultural warrior educator Bobby Sanabria. Join us as we help continue the important work of WBAI during this Winter Membership Drive.

Bobby, the son of Puerto Rican parents, was born and raised in the “Fort Apache” section of New York Bobby SanabriaCity’s South Bronx. Inspired and encouraged by maestro Tito Puente, another fellow New York-born Puerto Rican, Bobby “got serious” and attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music from 1975 to 1979, obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree and receiving their prestigious Faculty Association Award for his work as an instrumentalist. Since his graduation, Bobby has become a leader in the Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and jazz fields as both a drummer and percussionist, and is recognized as one of the most articulate musician-scholars of la tradición living today, and is a Professor at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

He has been featured on numerous Grammy-nominated albums, including The Mambo Kings and other movie soundtracks, as well as numerous television and radio work. Bobby was the drummer with the legendary “Father of the Afro-Cuban Jazz movement,” Mario Bauzá’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. With them he recorded three CD’s (two of which were Grammy-nominated) which are considered to be definitive works of the Afro-Cuban big-band jazz tradition. Bobby was also featured with the orchestra in two PBS documentaries about Bauzá and also appeared on the Bill Cosby show performing with the orchestra. He also appeared and performed prominently in a PBS documentary on the life of Mongo Santamaria.

Bobby is also an award-winning documentary producer whose films include The Palladium—Where Mambo Was King, shown on BRAVO, and From Mambo to Hip Hop—A South Bronx Tale, shown on PBS; he was a featured interviewee in both films. In 2005, Bobby was voted Percussionist of the Year by the readers of DRUM! magazine. In 2006, he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame and had a street named after him in recognition of the global impact of his work in the arts.

Bobby has been active in the effort to restore the 31 Grammy categories that were removed from awards ceremony. Find out more at http://www.grammywatch.org/.

Hosted by Joyce Jones.

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