From Havana to Harlem: 100 Years of Mario Bauzá | June 18th, 2011

The Apollo Theater Presents

From Havana to Harlem: 100 Years of Mario Bauzá

Featuring the Bobby Sanabria Big Band

Legendary Theater Celebrates its Afro-Cuban Roots

Saturday, June 18th, 8PM

On the Apollo Main Stage


(New York NY, June 1, 2011) – The Apollo Theater will present From

Havana to Harlem: 100 Years of Mario Bauzá, a special tribute concert to the “Godfather” of Afro Cuban Jazz – Mario Bauzá on Saturday, June 18th as part of its newest series, Cross Cultural Exchange. The concert is a collaboration with TeatroStageFest, New York’s Latino International Theater Festival. Four-time Grammy nominee, consummate drummer/percussionist and band leader Bobby Sanabria and his Bobby Sanabria Big Band bring Bauzá’s music back to the Apollo and pay tribute to the legendary musician for this exclusive engagement.


a musical trajectory that spanned over seventy years, Mario Bauzá
covered and mastered the realm of symphonic, Latin, jazz,
African-American, and popular dance music and was pivotal in introducing
Latin music to the Unites States. Bauzá
played the Apollo many times and performed with many of the famed
Harlem bandleaders, including Chick Webb, Fletcher Henderson and Cab
Calloway and then as part of Machito’s Afro Cubans. 


Tickets are $25, $35, $45 and are available at the Apollo Theater Box Office.


known for providing a platform to advance the contributions of
African-American artists, the Apollo has also been instrumental in
presenting Latin music artists throughout its 77- year history. Since
the first appearance of the legendary Machito Afro Cubans at the Apollo
in the 1940’s, Afro-Cuban jazz, in particular, has had a powerful
presence at the Theater.  


is a wonderful tradition of Latin music at the Apollo going back to
Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Machito and his Afro Cubans and many others,
and this show speaks directly to that story,” says Jonelle Procope,
President and CEO of the Theater. “Mario Bauzá’s connection
to the Apollo is as deep as that of Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown.
The idea of the Cross Cultural Exchange Series is to reflect and
illuminate the broad range of music that has been part of the Apollo’s
legacy. This celebration led by The Bobby Sanabria Big Band honors both
the legacy of Afro Cuban music at the Apollo and Bauzá’s own legacy.”  


Bobby Sanabria was Bauzá’s drummer for eight years and considers Bauzá as his

Bobby Sanabria
Bobby Sanabria

mentor. Sanabria, recognized as one of the foremost and futuristic practitioners of la tradición living today, is excited about honoring his mentor with this special presentation at the Apollo. “I am so happy to be a part of this celebration of the 100th birthday of Mario Bauzá.
He was the father of Afro-Cuban/Latin Jazz and it makes so much sense
to honor his legacy at the Apollo because this is where the majestic
sound of this music was born – in Harlem, U.S.A. at the Apollo Theater.”


Joining the Bobby Sanabria Big Band is master of ceremonies and one of the original Last Poets, Felipe Luciano; NEA Jazz Master, Candido; legendary composer and multi-instrumentalist, David Amram; trumpet master, Jon Faddis; activist, actress, spoken word artist, La Bruja, and Thelonious Monk competition finalist, vocalist Charenee Wade.


Havana to Harlem: 100 Years of Mario Bauzá is presented by the Apollo
Theater in collaboration with TeatroStageFest, NY’s Latino International
Theater Festival. The Theater Festival takes place June 4-18, 2011.
Visit or call 212.695.4010 for more information.


About Mario Bauzá

Mario Bauzá
was one of the most influential figures in the development of
Afro-Cuban music, and his innovative work and musical contributions have
led many jazz historians to call him the “founding father of Latin
jazz.” Trained as a classical musician, he was a clarinetist in the
Havana Philharmonic Orchestra by the age of nine, where he would stay
for three years. Bauzá traveled to New York in 1925 to record with
Maestro Antonio María Romeu’s band, a charanga, shortly after his
fourteenth birthday. Bauzá returned to Cuba but moved back to New York
in 1930 and by 1933, Bauzá had been hired as lead trumpeter and musical
director for
Chick Webb‘s
Orchestra. It was during his time with Webb that Bauzá both met fellow
trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and discovered and brought into the band
Ella Fitzgerald.

In 1938, Bauzá joined Cab Calloway‘s
band, later convincing Calloway to hire Dizzy Gillespie as well. Bauza
continued to work with Gillespie for several years after he left
Calloway’s band in 1940. The fusion of Bauzá’s Cuban musical heritage
and Gillespie’s bebop culminated in the development of cubop, one of the
first forms of Latin jazz. Bauzá went on to become musical director of
Machito and his Afro-Cubans, a band led by his brother-in-law,
Machito. The band produced its first recording for Decca in 1941, and in 1942 Bauzá brought in a young timbales player named Tito Puente.

The band had a major hit with Tanga, written by Bauzá in the cubop style. There were other good recordings in similar style, Cubop City and Mambo Inn.
Bauzá kept his post as director of the Afro-Cubans until 1976. In the
1980s and early ’90s, as the head of his own Afro-Cuban orchestra, Mario
Bauzá recorded three well received albums and his last band made a
guest appearance on a 1992 episode of The Cosby Show.
continued to compose and perform for the rest of his life, dedicating
himself to Latin jazz. He became a mentor for younger musicians,
including Bobby Sanabria, Conrad Herwig, and Michael Philip Mossman,
each of whom has gone on to develop and spread the music that Bauzá


About Bobby Sanabria

Sanabria is a celebrated drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger,
recording artist, producer, filmmaker, conductor, educator, and multiple
Grammy nominee. Sanabria has performed with a veritable Who’s Who in
the world of jazz and Latin music, as well as with his own critically
acclaimed ensembles. His diverse recording and performing experience
includes work with such legendary figures as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito
Puente, Paquito D’Rivera, Charles McPherson, Mongo Santamaría, Ray
Barretto, Marco Rizo, Arturo Sandoval, Roswell Rudd, Chico O’Farrill,
Candido, Yomo Toro, Francisco Aguabella, Larry Harlow, Henry Threadgill,
and the Godfather of Afro-Cuban Jazz, Mario Bauzá. Sanabria, the son of
Puerto Rican parents, was born and raised in the “Fort Apache” section
of New York City’s South Bronx. Inspired and encouraged by maestro Tito
Puente, Sanabria attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music from 1975 to
1979, obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree. Following college, he went
on to become a leader in the Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and jazz fields as
both a drummer and percussionist. Sanabriahas been the recipient of many
awards, including an NEA grant as a jazz performer, various Meet the
Composer awards, two INTAR Off-Broadway Composer awards, and the
Mid-Atlantic Foundation Arts Connect Grant three times. In 2006,
Sanabria was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame having a permanent
street named after him on the Bronx’s famed Grand Concourse in
recognition for his contributions to music and the arts. Sanabria has
also recently been awarded the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award by KOSA
for his outstanding accomplishments in jazz and Latin music both as a
performer and educator and the 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Mentor Award
presented to him by the Manhattan Country School for his work in the
world of jazz.  His latest recording, KENYA REVISITED
LIVE!!!, a masterful tribute and re-working of the Machito Afro-Cubans
legendary KENYA album features him conducting the Manhattan School for
Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra and was nominated for a Latin Grammy for
Best Latin Jazz recording of 2009, his fourth nomination.


About Cross Cultural Exchange

Cultural Exchange presentations focus on music artists or projects
representing diverse cultures that are U.S. or internationally-based. 
Many of the artists presented will represent cultural communities in
Harlem and Upper Manhattan, such as artists from/of Dominican, Puerto
Rican, Senegalese, Ivorian and Malian cultural heritage.


About The Apollo Theater

Apollo Theater is one of Harlem’s, New York City’s, and America’s most
iconic and enduring cultural institutions. The Apollo was one of the
first theaters in New York, and the country, to fully integrate,
welcoming traditionally African-American, Hispanic, and local immigrant
populations in the audience, as well as headlining uniquely talented
entertainers who found it difficult to gain entrance to other venues of
similar size and resources. Since introducing the first Amateur Night
contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in
cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres
including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop.
Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James
Brown, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross,
D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to stardom
on the Apollo’s stage. The Apollo’s new programming vision builds on its rich legacy while presenting more forward-looking contemporary work. 
is at the core of all our work and drives music, dance, theater and
performance art events. This includes the Apollo’s Cross Cultural
Exchange Series, Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival, the Apollo Music Café,
the Salon Series,
the Harlem Nutcracker and the James Brown Project.   


on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater
received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on
the National Register of Historic Places. For further information, visit
the website at


* * * 


Press Coverage

media and still photographers interested in coverage for any
Apollo-produced event MUST submit requests on company letterhead via
email to Nina Flowers, Associate Director of Marketing &
Communications at
[email protected] or fax to 212/749-2743.


Cross Cultural Exchange is made possible in part by Metlife Foundation.


Apollo’s annual programming is made possible by lead support from: The
Coca-Cola Company, the Edward and Leslye Phillips Family Foundation, the
Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bloomberg,
and the Neuberger Berman Foundation.


support for the Apollo’s 2010-2011 activities is provided by public
funds from: the National Endowment for the Arts; The City of New York:
Theater Subdistrict Council; the New York City Department of Cultural
Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Council Member Inez E.
Dickens, Speaker Christine Quinn, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural
Council; and the State of New York: the New York State Council on the
Arts, Senator Bill Perkins, Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, and the
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

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