Time for a little respect for the teachers, champions of Latin Jazz

Aug 16, 2012

Every art form needs its champions, its teachers, those who believe deeply and share their passion.

I have tremendous respect for two such champions of Latin Jazz (one based in San Francisco, the other in the Bronx): John Santos and Bobby Sanabria.

Outstanding percussionists, instructors, recording artists and advocates, both Santos and Sanabria stood up and protested the Recording Academy's decision to drop 31 ethnic categories from the Grammy Awards, including the Latin Jazz category.  

Latin Jazz has since been re-instated as an award category, the but the fight is far from over.  More on the dispute at http://www.grammywatch.org/

The history and the future of Latin Jazz are in good hands with these two maestros.

John Santos

John is widely respected as one of the top writers, teachers and historians in the field and was a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. He is currently part of the faculty at the Jazz School Institute (Berkeley, Calif.) and the College of San Mateo (Calif.). 

John was recently honored with the Helen Crocker Russell Award for making music that transcends cultural barriers and serves as a tool for social justice.

Bobby Sanabria

Bobby was the chair of the International Association of Jazz Education's (IAJE) Afro-Cuban Jazz Resource Team. He is rounding out his 15th year as an Associate Professor at the New School University's Jazz & Contemporary Music Program and has also been Professor at Manhattan School of Music since 1999. 

His latest CD Multiverse was reviewed by Paul de Barros this week in the Seattle Times. 

Here's Bobby Sanabria's in-depth interview with Maria Hinojosa: