Antonio Sanchez, Drum Soloist for Best Picture Winner ‘Birdman’, to Perform Live Alongside Movie in NYC
When Oscar winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu created “Birdman,” he recognized that the intense characters, heavy dialogue and the overall raw storyline needed to be accompanied by some compelling music.
That’s where Mexican-born, New York City-based drummer Antonio Sanchez came in -- and needless to say, he worked his magic by merging together fierce, frantic beats with the film’s fast pace and intense emotions.
Sanchez, an “accomplished jazzer” best known for his collaboration with guitar legend Pat Metheny, contributed the improvised solos throughout the film. And on Saturday, April 4, Sanchez will perform his groundbreaking score live in New York City for the first time alongside a screening of the Best Picture winner “Birdman” at the New York Society for Ethical Culture.
TimeOut New York spoke with the percussionist, whose drum solos had a huge impact on the “2014's most talked-about film soundtrack” “that gave Birdman its signature frenetic feel.” Sanchez also shared his disappointment when the Academy disqualified it from the Oscars race. (“Since Sanchez’s work shared screen time with a conventional orchestral score, the Academy deemed it ineligible for contention.”)
While Sanchez will be performing a score that was originally improvised, he points out that “It's actually not that hard, because I'm not trying to play note for note what I played on the movie. What I played on the movie was basically improvised, so what I'm trying to do is just follow the vibe and the energy and the main idea of what I played originally and then play variations and improvise around that,” he told TimeOut New York.
”The cool thing is that if you go to see another movie that was scored by an orchestra or something like that, most likely you'll hear exactly the same thing on every show. But if you come to one of these performances, you're going to see a completely different thing every single time.”
In “Birdman,” the very first sound that you hear in the film isn’t the start of the intense score, Sanchez’s drums, or the dialogue of the actors, but instead you hear Spanish, Sanchez points out. “Actually, the first sound is my voice in Spanish. We were just in the studio, and I guess the tape was rolling. I was playing around with the tuning of my toms and asking Alejandro what he preferred,” he explained. “I had no idea they were going to leave my voice. Those are the kinds of things I love about Alejandro, just the fact that it occurred to him—‘Oh, leave the voice in Spanish for a second.’ It's something that only if you have that kind of creativity you come up with and make it work.”
It turns out that Iñárritu and Sanchez have a shared background, which made the collaboration even more impressive. “He was an eclectic-music DJ (in Mexico City). The first time I heard the Pat Metheny Group was on his Nightly Show, and that's how I met Alejandro, when I was actually playing with the Pat Metheny Group years later,” he said. “It was a completely weird full-circle experience.”
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!