- Poncho Sanchez
- August 12, 7:30 PM
- Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle
Given all the ups and downs the music industry has experienced in the past three decades, it’s remarkable to find anyone who still retains a sense of allegiance or loyalty. Master Conguero, Band Leader and Latin Jazz Legend Poncho Sanchez is the exception. Thirty years ago, his close friend, multi-instrumentalist jazz icon Cal Tjader recommended he sign with Carl Jefferson’s Concord Records. Tjader told him that Jefferson was looking for new talent and he highly recommended Sanchez. Jefferson gave Poncho a one record deal with his Concord Picante imprint, and the rest is Latin Jazz history. Thirty years and 25 albums later, Sanchez, whose Live in Hollywood recording released on October 30,2012 on Concord Picante, is still with the label.
Sanchez turned 60 last year and received A Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Recording Academy. Being able to make a living playing music is a dream come true. As a teen, Sanchez first learned to play guitar from “the guy across the street” because he couldn’t afford to buy an instrument and his friend would let him borrow his guitar. He then gravitated to percussion after his siblings introduced him to the music that was then called cha-cha music.
For more than three decades as both a leader and a sideman, conguero Poncho Sanchez has stirred up a fiery stew of straight-ahead jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources. His influences are numerous, but among the more prominent figures that inform his music are two of the primary architects of Latin jazz – conga drummer and composer Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Sanchez pays tribute to these two titans on his release, Chano y Dizzy!, his 25th recording as a bandleader on Concord Picante.
Whether it’s salsa, straight-ahead jazz, Latin jazz, or even elements of soul and blues, the mesmerizing array of sounds and colors from Poncho Sanchez's youth have telegraphed across the decades and continue to inform his creative sensibilities to this day.