The Jazz Education Network has awarded its top two honors to John Edward Hasse and Bobby Sanabria at its January 2018 annual conference in Dallas. Hasse was named a “LeJENd of Jazz Education,” an award previously given to, among others, Ellis Marsalis, Rufus Reid, David Baker, and Herbie Hancock. Sanabria was named a “LeJENd of Latin Jazz.” Prior honorees are Eddie Palmieri, Paquito D’Rivera, Poncho Sanchez, and Candido Camero.
Hasse is a music historian, speaker, and award-winning author and record producer. A lifelong champion for America’s greatest art form, for 33 years Hasse served as Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where he founded the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and international Jazz Appreciation Month, and curated exhibitions on Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ray Charles. He helped the Museum build the world’s largest museum collection of jazz history, including 100,000 pages of unpublished music composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Called by the Washington Post “Ellington’s best biographer,” Hasse’s books include Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington and the college textbook Discover Jazz.
Bobby Sanabria is a drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, documentary film producer, and Co-Artistic Director of the Bronx Music Heritage Center. The son of Puerto Rican parents, he was born and raised in the “Fort Apache” section of New York City’s South Bronx, and is considered one of the greatest living musician-scholars of “la tradición.” He has been featured on numerous Grammy-nominated albums, including The Mambo Kings, and as a bandleader has been nominated seven times for the award. He has been featured as a talking head and producer in documentaries such as The Palladium: Where Mambo Was King, From Mambo to Hip Hop, Latin Music U.S.A., and West Side Stories: The Making of A Classic. He has performed and recorded with an array of legendary musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Chico O’Farrill, Arturo Sandoval, and Mario Bauzá, the Father of the Afro-Cuban Jazz tradition. As a bandleader, his recordings include NYC Aché, Afro-Cuban Dream. . .Live & in Clave!!!, Quarteto Aché, Big Band Urban Folktales, El Espiritú Jibaro with Roswell Rudd & Yomo Toro, 50 Years of Mambo, Kenya Revisited Live!!!, Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!!, and Multiverse. In June of 2018, his Latin jazz re-envisioning of Leonard Bernstein’s masterpiece, West Side Story, titled West Side Story: Reimagined, with his Multiverse Big Band, will be released on the Jazzheads label in celebration of the maestro’s centennial. He is on the faculty of the New School and the Manhattan School of Music. Bobby graduated from the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in 1979.
About The Jazz Education Network
JEN, with over 3,000 members, is the world’s leading organization devoted to jazz education. Hasse and Sanabria are founding members. Other 2018 awardees include Diane Downs, who received the John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year, Nobuki “Cobi” Narita, with the Donald Meade Legacy Griot Award, and Mary Ann Fischer, with a President’s Service Award. A number of student awards and scholarships were also presented.