Bobby Sanabria and his 21-piece big Multiverse Big Band took the stage late Saturday afternoon at Garibaldi Plaza, the capstone performance of the weeklong The Village Trip festival.
The Bronx-born and multi-Grammy nominated Sanabria is a drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, conductor, and educator. Among other institutions, he is on the faculty of NYU.
To a crowd filling the plaza and all the nearby park benches, Sanabria’s drum set frames his musical brilliance as he interlaces the prowess of the band by also celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.
Sanabria is prideful of his Puerto Rican and Bronx-honed heritage while being inclusive. He mentions King of the Timbales, Tito Puente, and maracas-playing Machito who brought together Cuban rhythms with big bands refining Afro-Cuban jazz. He points out how the roots of unique New York salsa are in the high energy Bronx.
With his extensive cultural knowledge and music facility, Sanabria wants to expand the audience’s appreciation of the legacy of Latin music. And his passion for the music and history is contagious.
If folks weren’t dancing to the music he admonishes them in order to get the crowd grooving — even giving a mini mambo lesson from the stage. It didn’t take much to get the audience excited.
“This is what New York is all about,” says Ericka Hamburg, who traveled from Staten Island to join the fun. “Live music, community-based, for free that everybody can enjoy, we’ve been missing this. This is a late summer explosion before the weather shuts us down. Let’s enjoy what the city has to offer.”
Also on stage, Grammy-winner Janis Siegel performed jazz-fusion and pop vocals for a number of songs and as the sun was setting, Antoinette Montague joined the band to change gears offering up some soulful blues numbers.
Subtitled “Bring It All Back Home,” The Village Trip festival highlighting the arts — particularly music in the Village and centered on Washington Square Park — first started in 2018. This year’s celebration opened on Sept. 18 with David Amram on 8th Street, who gave a special tribute to Village icon Doris Deither who passed away just days before.
The Village Trip included a plethora of walking tours (Amram gave one) and musical gigs.
The multi-venue celebration honoring the history and heritage of Greenwich Village wrapped up on Sept. 26 at The Bitter End with a hootenanny celebrating the New York folk revival. And, at the same renowned Village music scene, Hannah Reimann and Michele Temple performed Joni Mitchell’s album “Blue” in its entirety, vocalist Reimann playing guitar, piano, and dulcimer. This performance marked the album’s 50th anniversary.