Conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez was born in Laredo, Texas but grew up in a melting-pot suburb of Los Angeles. His music reflects the various influences of jazz, Latin jazz, R&B and soul, and it's a joyful mixture.
Poncho went from learning music on a neighbor's guitar (he couldn't afford his own) to working the local club scene for several years.
In 1975, Poncho joined Cal Tjader's band, and learned essential band-leading and crowd-pleasing skills from that beloved vibraphonist. After Tjader died, Poncho formed his own band in 1982.
Since then, he's racked up multiple Grammy nominations, a Grammy Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Grammys, a Legend of Latin Jazz Award from the Jazz Education Network, and the adoration of fans worldwide. He's respected as one of the top American percussionists of the modern era.
Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band are appearing at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle tonight through Sunday night.
Listen for Poncho Sanchez playing some Latin Soul this week on Jazz Caliente.
Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. The show is hosted and produced by Robin Lloyd for KNKX Public Radio.