Bobby was also honored by Latin Jazz USA on October 26, 2003 at Birdland NYC. Bobby received the organization's "Outstanding Achievement" award. In the words of its president, Ivan Acosta, Bobby received the award "In recognition of his extraordinary creative contribution to the music of Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz as a performer, leader and educator." The other award winners were bassist Andy Gonzalez, pianist Arturo O 'Farill and saxophonist Mario Rivera. The "Lifetime Achievement" award was given to legendary vocalist Graciela.
Over the summer Bobby kept up a busy schedule performing at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Isthmus Jazz Festival, Brownsville Jazz Festival, Music Under the Stars in El Paso, Berea College with his nonet, Ascensión and the Percussive Arts Society convention with his Quarteto Aché receiving explosive applause and several standing ovations. Bobby kept up the pace with what he calls his "mission" to spread the gospel of Afro-Cuban Jazz by giving performances with his quartet as well as master classes at The Carver Center in San Antonio, Colorado College, Syracuse University and Rutgers University as well as The Jazz Standard and Flushing Town Hall in NYC. He traveled to Europe performing with Larry Harlow's Latin Legends Band at the famed Toros and Salsa Festival in Dax, France. He also performed across the country with poet/storyteller David Gonzalez and Larry in the show "Sofrito" a musical theater piece utilizing folktales from Cuba, Puerto Rico and da' Bronx!
Bobby's virtuosity as both a drummer and percussionist is featured on these recent 2003 releases. "Urban Grooves" by drummer/vibist Joe Chambers where Bobby plays congas, percussion and drumset. "Urban Still Life" by saxophonist Lou Caputo where he is featured on drumset and is joined by fellow LP endorser Candido. Trombonist Chris Washburne's "Paradise in Trouble" where he is featured on everything from drumset, batá, bongo, timbales and percussion and John Fedchock's Big Band tome "No Nonsense" which has just received a Grammy nomination. The versatile Sanabria is featured on congas, timbales, guiro and claves on the Fedchock arrangement of Joe Henderson's "Caribbean Fire Dance" which has been Grammy nominated for best large ensemble arrangement.
Bobby's expertise in Afro-Cuban folklore was called upon to contribute congas, batá, shekeres's, bells and vocals to the soundtrack of the short film "Gypsy Girl" directed by Susana Tubert. The film was featured at the Sundace Film Festival. He also contributed timbale, conga, bongó and percussion tracks to the ad campaigns of the Taj Mahal, Crest, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper. Bobby was honored to work with the legendary Cuban vocalist Celia Cruz who was featured in the Dr. Pepper spot shown worldwide along with spots featuring contemporary Latina Pop idol, Paulina Rubio.
Bobby celebrated his 10th anniversary conducting and teaching the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra at the prestigious New School University's Jazz program in NYC with an incredible blow out concert on March 18, 2003. For the last ten years Mr. Sanabria has passed on "La Tradición" to literally hundreds of students who are now carrying on that tradition in the new millenium. Players like bassist Avishai Cohen (Chick Correa), trumpeter Mike Rodriguez (Charlie Haden), saxophonist Ivan Renta (Eddie Palmieri), drummer Jaz Sawyer (Los Hombres Calientes), saxophonist Karolina Strassmayer (Diva, Mark Murphy), drummer/percussionist Tony De Vivo (Mo' Guajiro), trombonist Chris Khoeler (The Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Wayne Gorbea) and many more have all graduated from the "School of Sanabria".
Featured as guest solosists at the concert where recent Grammy award winning flutist Dave Valentin and conga legend and longtime LP endorser Candido Camero. The concert began and ended in the carnaval tradition of Cuba, with an extended conga line led by Bobby which sang Happy Birthday for the 82nd year young, Candido!!!
Bobby also celebrated his fifth year of teaching at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music where he also conducts the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra with concerts on February 2oth with saxophonist David Sanchez, October 16 with guest soloist, trombonist Conrad Herwig and on November 13 with guest soloist, saxophonist Ronnie Cuber.
Bobby would like to thank all of the fans, students,educators, festivals, companies and most of all his musicians for making it possible for him to play the music that to paraphrase Eddie Palmieri "Is the most
highly developed art form ever engineered to excite the human organism."