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WBGO's Kids Jazz Concert Series and The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation Present the Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band

originally published: 05/11/2023


(BRONX, NY) -- The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation (LAEF) and WBGO’s Kids Jazz Concert Series present the multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band, featuring Janis Siegel, Antoinette Montague and Jennifer Jade Ledesna, in a Latin jazz tribute to Louis Armstrong in association with Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture at Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street in the Bronx, on Sunday, June 4, 1:00-2:00pm. The concert is free and open to the public. Adults must be accompanied by at least one child. Advance reservations are required via EventBrite.

“We’re elated to share WBGO’s most important community engagement initiative with LAEF,” said Steven Williams, President/CEO, WBGO. “This is an eagerly anticipated opportunity to connect with young people, many of whom will be hearing Jazz for the first time. And, of course, any discovery and discussion of Jazz with children or their parents must include Louis Armstrong.”

“The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation is carrying on the mandate of Louis and Lucille Armstrong to support music education, especially for kids,” said Jackie Harris, Executive Director, LAEF. “This collaboration is significant because WBGO, LAEF and the Bronx Music Heritage Center are in the business of preserving Jazz. We sincerely thank Hostos for opening their doors for this special concert. It is important that youngsters of all ages have access to Jazz music performances in and outside of their neighborhoods.”

Hailed as one of the most influential and popular musicians in modern music, trumpeter Louis Armstrong (1901-71) rose out of poverty in New Orleans, and became, in the words of music and cultural critic Albert Murray, “the Prometheus of jazz,” as the genre’s first major soloist and vocalist, who invented scat-singing. Growing up in the Crescent City, Armstrong heard music from the Caribbean — especially Cuba — and was greatly influenced by the exceptional Cuban trumpeter Manuel Perez of the Olympia Brass Band. In 1930, Armstrong’s recording of the Cuban standard  "El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor)” sold a million copies and was a precursor to the birth of modern Latin jazz in the 1940’s by bebop pioneer Dizzy Gillespie, arranger/ trumpeter Mario Bauza and percussionist Chano Pozo.

The Bobby Sanabria MULTIVERSE Big Band will rhythmically retrace the African footprints of Latin jazz, from The Big Apple to the Big Easy, back to Armstrong, who lived much of his adult years in Queens, New York. On that dancing afternoon in the Bronx, they will gather together, as Armstrong would say “in the cause of happiness.”

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Bobby SanabriaAn alumnus of the Berklee College of Music, drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, documentary film producer, and multi-Grammy nominated as a leader, Bobby Sanabria is a native Nuyorican son of the South Bronx. He's performed and recorded with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Paquito D'Rivera, Charles McPherson, and the Father of Afro-Cuban jazz, Mario Bauzá. His big band albums have all been nominated for Grammys including Afro-Cuban Dream: Live & In Clave!!!, Big Band Urban FolkTales, Multiverse (double Grammy nominated), and West Side Story Reimagined which was awarded the Jazz Journalists Record of the Year Award for 2019 and hailed as a masterpiece by the Wall Street Journal, as well as Kenya Revisited Live!!! and Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!!, with Bobby conducting the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. Among his numerous awards are induction into the 2006 Bronx Walk of Fame, the 2018 Jazz Education Network's LeJENS of Latin Jazz Award. He was recently bestowed an Honorary Doctorate by Lehman College. He is on the faculty of New School University (his 28th year) and is the host of the Latin Jazz Cruise on WBGO FM. His new album with his Multiverse Big Band, Vox Humana, features Janis Siegel, Antoinette Montague and Jennifer Jade Ledesna.

Janis Siegel : A proud daughter of Brooklyn, NY, 10-time Grammy winning vocalist/arranger Janis Siegel attributes the borough with her deep musical roots in R & B, pop, soul and jazz. Starting her career as a teenager with the all-female group Young Generation, who had a hit with the song, "Hideaway," and the folk trio, The Loved Ones, she joined the renowned Manhattan Transfer in 1972 where she has sung lead on many of their hits including, "Twilight Zone" and "The Boy From New York City." She appears on all of their award-winning albums including Extensions, Brazil, and Vocalize, where she won a Grammy for Best Vocal Arrangement for her treatment of the Joe Zawinul song "Birdland." Besides her work with Manhattan Transfer, she's also recorded with a number of artists including Bobby McFerrin, Richie Cole, Fred Hersch, Renee Rosnes and Dianne Reeves. As a solo artist Janis has recorded in a variety of styles from straight ahead to Latin oriented jazz on 14 critically acclaimed albums, including Experiment in White, Mazel, Honey and Air, with the Requinte Trio and Cryin' in Whiskey.

Antoinette MontagueBorn and raised in Newark, NJ, Antoinette Montague sang in a gospel choir growing up, and was inspired by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Motown. Mentored by jazz and blues divas Etta Jones and Carrie Smith, Montague has worked with a number of veterans including Christian McBride, Jimmy Heath and Lou Donaldson. Her albums include Pretty Blues, Behind the Smile, World Peace in the Key of Jazz, and Jazz Woman to the Rescue. She is an Adjunct Professor at Marymount Manhattan College, an instructor at The New School and the Newark School of the Arts and hosts a radio show on Harlem’s WHCR-FM. Montague is the Founder/CEO of the Jazz Woman to the Rescue Foundation, which encourages music education in public schools and community centers and instrument donations to young people.

Jennifer Jade Ledesna: Vocalist/dancer/actress and Bronx native Jennifer Jade Ledesna is a graduate of the famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, and the New School Jazz Conservatory. She also studied with Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program, the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, the Bob McAndrew Studio and at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Fluent in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, Ledesna has performed in France, Brazil, and Chile. She was the former Artistic Director of Minton’s Playhouse. Ledesna has worked with Bobby McFerrin, Robert Glasper, Dave Valentin and Wynton Marsalis. Her albums include Truth and Jenn Jade and the Jazz Immigrants.

WBGO/Newark Public Radio- is a non-profit, publicly funded arts and cultural institution, dedicated to the curation, presentation, and preservation of music created out of the African American experience. We are committed to providing our community with independently produced music programming and journalism for the purpose of public enrichment, entertainment, and insight. The WBGO Kids Jazz Concert Series brings world-renowned jazz musicians to concert halls and venues throughout New York and New Jersey. These concerts give young listeners the chance to discover the enjoyment of jazz, improvisation, and musical collaboration.

The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc. (LAEF) was founded and funded by Louis and Lucille Armstrong in 1969 to give back to the world “some of the goodness he received.” The mission of the organization is to preserve and promote the cultural legacy of Louis Armstrong by fostering programs, lectures, and other educational events to assist those interested, gifted and talented in the field of music, primarily jazz. Today the Foundation is a major source of funding for programs to expose and educate adults and children in the history of American jazz and has provided solid financial support to institutions across the nation.

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Hostos Community College has been an educational agent for change, transforming and improving the quality of life, intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. The college is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university serving more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges. The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture consists of an art gallery, a 367-seat Repertory Theater, and a 900-seat Main Theater. It is easily accessible from Queens and New Jersey and is just 15 minutes by subway from midtown Manhattan.  



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