Malta Jazz Festival : Antonio Sanchez and ‘Migration’

Ta' Liesse, Valletta

Sat Jul 22nd 2017 at 20:00 until 23:59
Malta
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2014 proved to be a landmark year for drummer / composer / bandleader Antonio Sanchez. Long one of the most acclaimed and in-demand drummers of his generation, Sanchez's ever-expanding musical vision was discovered by new audiences through his Golden Globe and BAFTA-nominated score for Alejandro González Iñárritu's Academy Award-winning film Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and a globe-spanning 150-city tour with the Pat Metheny Unity Group, the latest iteration of a 15-year collaboration between the guitarist and drummer – in addition to appearing as a featured musician in Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle's forthcoming biopic on Miles Davis as well as composing and recording his next album as a leader.

Now, Sanchez follows that well-deserved success with two remarkably diverse new releases that spotlight the continued evolution of his compositional and band-leading talents. Three Times Three showcases Sanchez at his improvisatory best with three different but equally iconic all-star trios; while the breathtaking, sweeping The Meridian Suite features the composer's most ambitious work to date, an hour-long electro-acoustic suite penned for Migration, his working ensemble.

"I'm trying to expand my horizons as a composer," Sanchez says. "These two albums are so radically different that I hope they'll showcase two completely different sides of me."

That range only adds to the multi-faceted dimensions that Sanchez has shown to audiences over the years, culminating in his exhilarating score for Birdman. Despite being disqualified from Oscar contention – for arcane reasons having to do with the use of pre-existing classical music on the soundtrack – Sanchez’s innovative drums-only score won top honours at other important award shows and contributed immensely to the film's success at this year's Academy Awards ceremony, where it won four awards including Best Picture. While Sanchez was understandably disappointed by the Oscar snub, the outcry against the decision has been reassuring and the composer is well-aware of his achievement, saying, “The work speaks for itself.”

“My new album, The Meridian Suite, is my most ambitious project to date. It's a 56-minute continuous composition that features my band Migration and it explores the concept of Meridians: imaginary lines that flow through the earth, celestial sphere and our bodies.”

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