A Free Zoom Presentation produced by Healdsburg Jazz will be hosted and led by percussionist John Santos.
FREE Zoom Presentation
Sunday, September 20, 5 – 7 PM.
Where: Youtube. Register below!
He is one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today, with guest artist Grammy Award winner David Sánchez, one of the greatest tenor saxophonists in jazz today.
Puerto Rican musicians have played a crucial role in jazz, and have made an indelible mark in the evolution of US popular music. In this presentation, we will take an illuminating look at some of the pioneers, roots and milestones of the past century through discussion, photos, video clips, and audio examples.
Healdsburg Jazz Presents
The Puerto Rican Jazz Connection
FREE Zoom Presentation
Sunday, September 20, 5 – 7 PM (PT)
Produced by Healdsburg Jazz
Presented by John Santos
Curated by Jessica Felix
Hosted by Marcus Shelby
with special guest: David Sanchez
Puerto Rican musicians, rhythms and instruments have a long and unique relationship with jazz. In this presentation, we will take an illuminating look at some of the pioneers, roots and milestones of the past century through discussion, photos, video clips and audio examples.
We’ll examine some of the social and historical circumstances that have given birth to beautiful and powerful modes of artistic expression while uniting common struggles for justice and equality.
Puerto Rican musicians have played a crucial role in jazz since long before the word “jazz” became common. From the orchestras of James Reese Europe, Duke Ellington, Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri to the Ft. Apache Band, Batacumbele, Papo Vazquez, David Sanchez, Miguel Zenon and many others, groundbreaking Puerto Rican musicians have made an indelible mark in the evolution of US popular music.
I chose David Sánchez as my special guest for several reasons. Not only is he perhaps the greatest Puerto Rican tenor saxophonist ever, but he is inarguably one of the greatest tenors in Jazz today. He is steeped in Jazz and Afro-Puerto Rican tradition and has led one of the most dynamic and creative Jazz combos of the last 25 years, recording several landmark CDs as a leader with a stellar cast of sidemen and special guests including Danilo Perez, Kenny Garrett, Cassandra Wilson, John Benitez, Horacio “Negro” Hernandez, Luis Perdomo, Giovanni Hidalgo, Edsel Gomez, Larry Grenadier, Milton Cardona, Richie Flores, Roy Hargrove, Jerry Gonzalez, Antonio Sanchez, Adam Cruz, Pernell Saturnino, Hans Glawischnig and Miguel Zenón! I am among his biggest fans and have had a couple occasions to share the stage with him which is always exhilarating. I first met him over 30 years ago when he was a teenager playing in a small club in Viejo San Juan shortly before he moved to NY. The elders with whom he has playing (including legendary percussionists Mañengue Hidalgo – Giovanni’s father – and Jimmy Rivera) all told me “remember that young man’s name – you’re going to be hearing about him.” WOW – were they RIGHT!!! David is as thoughtful and deep as he is creative and expressive on his horn and I am super excited at this rare opportunity to be in conversation with him online for the first time.
There will be a Q&A from the audience at the end of the presentation.
Seven-time Grammy-nominated percussionist, US Artists Fontanals Fellow, and 2013-2014 SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director, John Santos, is one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today. Born in San Francisco, California, November 1, 1955, he was raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music. The fertile musical environment of the San Francisco Bay Area shaped his career in a unique way. His studies of Afro-Latin music have included several trips to New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil and Colombia. He is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music and has earned much respect and recognition as a prolific performer, composer, teacher, writer, radio programmer, and record/event producer whose career has spanned four decades. He illuminates and illustrates the historical and evolving intersection of jazz and traditional Afro-Latin music.
John has performed and/or recorded with acknowledged, multi-generational masters such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Max Roach, EddiePalmieri, Patato Valdés, Lázaro Ros, Bobby Hutcherson, Manny Oquendo, Chucho Valdes, Airto, Paquito D’Rivera, Buenavista Social Club, Chocolate Armenteros, John Handy, Billy Cobham, Zakir Hussain, Hermeto Pascoal, George Cables, Generoso Jimenez, Joe Henderson, Ernesto Oviedo, Regina Carter, Chester Thompson,
Francisco Aguabella, John Faddis, Ed Thigpen, Giovanni Hidalgo, Steve Turre, McCoy Tyner, Batacumbele, Poncho Sanchez, Omar Sosa, Mel Martin, Ignacio Berroa, Danilo Perez, Los Pleneros de la 21, Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana, Armando Peraza, Pancho Quinto, Tootie Heath, Art Farmer, Pupy Pedroso, Jacqueline Castellanos, Malonga Casquelord, CK Ladzekpo, Pancho Terry, Juan De Dios Ramos, Carlos Aldama, Yosvany Terry,
Dafnis Prieto, Oscar Castro Neves, Mark Murphy,Orkestra Rumpilezz, Larry Coryell, Lázaro Galarraga, Regino Jimenez, Luis Daniel “Chichito” Cepeda, Modesto Cepeda, Guillermo “Negro” Triana, Lázaro Rizo, Raul “Lali” Gonzalez, Amado DeDeus, Pedrito Martinez, Jose Lugo, Jerry Medina, Orestes Vilató, Kamau Daaood, Johnny Rodriguez, Sonny Bravo, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres, Anthony Carrillo, Paoli Mejías, Raul Rekow, Andy Gonzalez, Jerry Gonzalez, Jovino Santos Neto, Lalo Schifrin, Gema y Pavel, Pete Escovedo, Claudia Gómez, Maria Márquez, Jon Jang, Wayne Wallace, Mark Levine, Elio Villafranca, Bruce Forman, Linda Tillery, Charlie Hunter, Joyce Cooling, Bobby Matos, Mark Weinstein, Roberto Borrell, Sandy Perez, Jesus Diaz, Roman Diaz, Pablo Menendez y Mezcla, Yma Sumac, Rhiannon, Larry Vukovich, Kenny Washington, Faye Carol, Kellye Gray, Destani Wolf, Kimiko Joy, Kenny Endo, Abhijit Banerjee, and Carlos Santana, among others.
John is widely respected as one of the top writers, teachers, and historians in the field and was a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. He is currently part of the faculty at the California Conservatory of Jazz (Berkeley, CA), Laney College (Oakland, CA), and the College of San Mateo (CA). He has conducted countless workshops, lectures and clinics in the US, Latin America and Europe since 1973 at institutions of all types including the Smithsonian, the Adventures in Music program of the San Francisco Symphony, the Berklee School of Music in Boston, UCLA, Yale, Stanford, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Michigan, Temple University, Brigham Young University, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State Hayward, the University of Colorado, Yakima Valley Community College, Ohio Music Education Association, the Afro-Cuban Drumming and Dance Program at Humboldt State University (CA), Cal State Sonoma, Cal State Sacramento, Cal State San Jose, Tulane and Dillard Universities of Louisiana, Jazz Camp West, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Los Angeles Music Academy, the Museum of the African Diaspora (San Francisco), the Lafayette Summer Music Program (CA), the Oakland Public Conservatory, and La Universidad Inter-Americana in San Germán Puerto Rico. He has contributed to the international magazines Percussive Notes, Modern Drummer, Modern Percussionist, and Latin Percussionist.
John was the director of the Orquesta Tipica Cienfuegos (1976-1980) and the award-winning Orquesta Batachanga (1981-1985). He was founder and director of the internationally renowned, Grammy-nominated Machete Ensemble (1985-2006), with whom he released nine CDs with special guests from Puerto Rico, Cuba, NY, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, mostly on John’s Machete Records label that was founded in 1984 and continues today. He currently directs the highly acclaimed John Santos Sextet Latin jazz ensemble with five full-length CDs under their belt to date. Papa Mambo was released in 2007. Their second CD, Perspectiva Fragmentada, (2008) was nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association (NY), and by Cubadisco (Cuban Grammys) as one of the top Latin Jazz releases of the year, and selected as one of the five top Latin Jazz CDs of 2008 by New York’s All About Jazz magazine, among many honors. Filosofía Caribeña Vol.1 (2011) received a 4.5-star review from Downbeat Magazine! Filosofía Caribeña Vol.2 was released in 2013. Siempre Clásico (2014) features amazing special guests Ernesto Oviedo and Orestes Vilató. John has also produced four full-length CDs with his Afro-Caribbean Folklóric Ensemble, El Coro Folklórico Kindembo since 1994, two of which were Grammy-nominated. La Esperanza (2011), garnered a four-star review in Downbeat Magazine! His newest CD, Art of the Descarga by The John Santos Sextet with a spectacular list of special guests including Jerry Gonzalez, Orestes Vilató, Orlando “Maraca” Valley Tito Matos was released in August 2020 on the Smithsonian Folkways label.
The San Francisco Bay Area community in which John still lives and works has presented him with numerous awards and honors for artistic excellence and social dedication. John received the Community Leadership Award from the San Francisco Foundation in 2011. He was presented with the San Francisco Latino Heritage Award in 2012 that included a Certificate of Honor signed by Mayor Edwin Lee, and Certificates of Recognition from the State Assembly, a Certificate of Recognition from the State Senate, and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the US House of Representatives. He was selected for the Man of the Year Award by Brothers on the Rise (Oakland, CA) in 2013. He also received a Most Influential Jazz Musician Award from the Buddy Montgomery Annual Awards ceremony in September of 2016 in Berkeley, CA. A photo of John from 1987 by pioneering Puerto Rican photographer/activist Frank Espada hangs in the National P0rtrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC!
John’s work has also been recognized and supported by the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, the California Arts Council, United States Artists, the Zellerbach Family Fund, the Fund for Folk Culture, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the East Bay Community Foundation, the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the Creative Work Fund, and the City of Oakland. The City of San Francisco issued a mayoral proclamation declaring November 12, 2006, John Santos Day. He was featured prominently in the PBS American Masters documentary, Cachao: Uno Mas (2008), and is the subject of another PBS documentary by Searchlight Films (Oakland, CA), currently in progress. In September of 2016, he performed at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.
John is an advisory board member of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (NY), Living Jazz (Oakland, CA), and the Oaktown Jazz Workshop (Oakland, CA), and a Trustee of SFJAZZ.
GRAMMY® award-winner David Sánchez is recognized around the world as one of the finest saxophonists of his generation. His mastery of the instrument is undeniable and his sound unmistakable. Combine that with Sánchez’s deep-seated knowledge of both Jazz and Latin music and the traditions that mold them, and the results are extraordinary.
World-renowned jazz writer and critic Howard Reich saluted the bandleader saying, “Sánchez’s prowess on saxophone is matched by the intellectual depth of his concept and compositions”. Reich has also noted, “Technically, tonally and creatively, he seems to have it all.” His debut album, “The Departure” (1994), as well as “Sketches of Dreams” (1995), “Obsesión” (1998), and “Cultural Survival” (2008) showed Sánchez merging jazz syntax with the musical dialects of his native Puerto Rico and other Caribbean and Latin America source.
The influences of Puerto Rican folkloric music can be clearly heard on “Street Scenes” (1996), strains of Bomba and Plena are also evident on “Obsesión” (1998) and “Melaza” (2000) both produced by the great saxophonist Branford Marsalis, as well as “Travesía” (2001), Sánchez’s first entirely self-produced recording.
It was another recording, “Coral” that would earn David his fifth GRAMMY® award nomination and his first Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2005. This album features orchestrations and arrangements by prolific Argentine composer Carlos Franzetti with the City of Prague Philharmonic.
The album showcases compositions by Hector Villa-Lobos,Antonio Carlos Jobim, Alberto Ginastera, Franzetti and Sánchez.
allmusic.com observes “Sánchez is poised to take his place among the great jazz musicians that continue to offer important personal and musical insights to their audiences”. ‘Coral’ is a necessity for any jazz or classical record collection”.
“Cultural Survival”, David’s 2008 debut on Concord Records, earned the artist his sixth GRAMMY® award nomination. Two years later, Sánchez, Stefon Harris, and Christian Scott came together for the “Ninety Miles Project.” The successful album and documentary film was recorded in Havana and featured not only the three bandleaders but also some of Cuba’s finest musicians.
JAZZ Times music writer Michael J. West noted, “The saxophonist is the real star: He’s exquisite on “The Forgotten Ones,” a ballad duet with Harris, and provides romance on “This Too” and dark intrigue on the album’s one new tune, “Paradise Found.” The project would later become The Ninety Miles Band, where Harris and Sánchez would further develop their unique musical partnership.
Sánchez continues to tour the world as a bandleader, bringing his mix of mainstream jazz with Pan-African influences to audiences around the globe. Most lately, he finalized is upcoming and much-anticipated recording, “Carib” (2018) featuring original compositions inspired by melodies and rhythms coming from the Afro Puerto Rican and Haitian tradition. Two pieces on this recording, “Canto” and “Fernando’s Theme”, are featured in the soundtrack of the film “Windows on The World” by Robert Mailer Anderson.
At the same time, he is also a member of the SFJazz Collective, an all-star octet representing the SFJAZZ institution. The Collective has been one of the most prolific ensembles of the last decade. It’s recognized for its stellar musicians, groundbreaking compositions, and innovative takes on the music of some of the world’s most influential artists. Sánchez’s unique musical sensibility can be traced to his home, Puerto Rico, where he began playing percussion and drums at age 8. He migrated to tenor saxophone a few years later. While a scholar at the prestigious La Escuela Libre de Música in San Juan, he took up the flute, clarinet as well as soprano saxophone with teachers Angel Marrero and Leslie López. The Bomba and Plena rhythms of his homeland, along with Cuban, Caribbean, and Brazilian traditions, were among the biggest influence on Sanchez’s early taste in music. But soon jazz masters such as Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, and John Coltrane would command his ear and his imagination. Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Henderson all have been also major influences.
In 1988 Sánchez auditioned for and gained a music scholarship at Rutgers University. He articulates, “studying with masters such as Kenny Barron, Ted Dunbar, Larry Ridley among others, was a true blessing”.
He was soon immersed in New York’s swirling Jazz scene and was quickly recruited to tour with piano giant and mentor Eddie Palmieri. He also performed with Hilton Ruiz and Claudio Roditi who brought Sánchez to the attention of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. In 1991, Gillespie invited the young saxophonist to join his “Live the Future” tour with Miriam Makeba. Later, having the opportunity to be a part of Gillespie’s recording, “Live At The Blue Note” Sánchez has also performed and recorded with Jazz Master and mentor, Kenny Barron (album “The Spirit Song”), Roy Haynes(album “Praise”), Charlie Haden (Grammy award-winning album “Nocturne”), Roy Hargrove (Grammy award winner Album “Crisol”), Pat Metheny, Lalo Schiffrin, Danilo Perez, Tom Harrell, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Kenny Werner, and had the opportunity to perform with the legendary drummer Elvin Jones.
David Sánchez is also “Maestro Sánchez” to students at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. After a decade of teaching, he has proven to be a compelling presence with students and is in demand for workshops and masterclasses in Puerto Rico and beyond. In 2017 he helped form a new program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, The RJAM (Roots, Jazz, and American Music).
Sánchez’s passion for teaching and sharing his art with up and coming musicians is palpable. He says, “It gives me such tremendous joy seeing so much talent out there. It’s a true honor to be a part of The Georgia State University School of Music faculty as the Artist in Residence in the Jazz Studies program, which provides a solid platform to help students while they strive to find their own voices. I am very optimistic and I look ahead to the future of music.” In addition to his collaboration with the Conservatory of Puerto Rico and The Conservatory of San Francisco, Sánchez has taught master classes in Brazil, at the Peabody Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University’s School of Music, Stanford University, University of Memphis, Emory University Berklee Global Institute and completed a year-long residency at Georgia State University. Such work, he says, “gives me great satisfaction. At the same time, it’s a challenge, because part of my responsibility is to provide the student with guidance by sharing my experiences, but also understanding that it’s their own journey. In the process, as instructors, we also learn.
John Santos Discography
JOHN SANTOS – www.johnsantos.com
percussionist • historian • producer • composer • writer • vocalist • lecturer • instructor
Partial Discography (*John Santos as producer or co-producer)
Art of the Descarga* • The John Santos Sexet (Smithsonian Folkways) 2020
Familiar Future* • Doug Stuart 2020
Erik Jekabson Sextet • (Widehive) 2018
Erik Jekabson Quintet • (Widehive) 2018
Left 2 Write • George Andino featuring Tony Lindsey 2018
Raise the Mark • Bay Area All-Stars 2017
The Falling Dream • Electric Squeezebox Orchestra (OA2) 2017
This Could be That • Brian Andrés & the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel (Amazon Music Unlimited) 2016
Opaluna • Opaluna (Ridgeway Records) 2016
Pomponio • Jemal Ramirez (First Orbit Sounds) 2016
Leilani’s Leap • Mark Levine & The Latin Tinge 2015
Siempre Clásico* • The John Santos Sextet with Ernesto Oviedo and Orestes Vilató (Machete) 2014
Live at the Hillside Club • Erik Jekabson (Jekab’s Music) 2014
Salsa de la Bahia • Compilation (Patois) 2014
Eggun • Omar Sosa (Otá) 2013 GRAMMY Nominee
Latin Jazz Jazz Latin • Wayne Wallace (Patois) 2013 GRAMMY Nominee
Filosofía Caribeña Vol.2* • The John Santos Sextet (Machete) 2013
Filosofía Caribeña Vol.1* • The John Santos Sextet (Machete) 2011
La Esperanza* • John Santos y El Coro Folklórico Kindembo (Machete) 2011
Afrodiaspora* • Susana Baca (Luaka Bop) 2011
Where The Warm Winds Blow • Mel Martin (Jazzed Media) 2009
Perspectiva Fragmentada* • The John Santos Quintet (Machete) 2008
La Guerra No * • 2010 GRAMMY Nominee • John Santos y El Coro Folklórico Kindembo (Machete) 2008
The Nature of the Beat • Wayne Wallace (Patois) 2008
Azucar de Amor • Kat Parra (Patois) 2008
Papa Mambo* • The John Santos Quintet (Machete) 2007
Vagabundeo/Wanderings Alexa Weber Morales (Patois) 2007
The Reckless Search For Beauty • Wayne Wallace (Patois) 2006
Dedication • Wayne Wallace (Patois) 2006
Latigo • 2007 GRAMMY Nominee • Quartet San Francisco with special guest, John Santos (ViolinJazz) 2006
Para Todos Ustedes* • 2005 GRAMMY Nominee • Los Pleneros de la 21 (Smithsonian/Folkways) 2005
20th Anniversary* • J.S. and Machete (Machete) 2005
Para Ellos* • 2005 GRAMMY Nominee • J.S. and the Coro Folklorico Kindembo (Machete) 2004
Brazos Abiertos* • J.S. and Machete (Machete) 2003
S.F. Bay* • 2003 GRAMMY Nominee • J.S. and Machete (Machete) 2002
Princesa de la Naturaleza • Maria Marquez 2003
Sentir • Omar Sosa (Ota) 2002
Echoes in Blue • Wayne Wallace (Spirit Nectar) 2001
Mambo Jazz* • Bobby Matos/John Santos (Cubop) 2001
Prietos • Omar Sosa (Ota) 2001
Tribute to The Masters* • John Santos and Machete (Cubop) 2000
La Mar* • John Santos and Omar Sosa 2000
Bembon • Omar Sosa (Ota) 2000
Three in One • Wayne Wallace (Spirit Nectar) 2000
Once Cuentos de Amor • Maria Fernanda Marquez (Ryko Latino) 2000
Cuba Without Borders • Comp. Machete, Pancho Quinto, Omar Sosa, Los Terry, John Calloway 2000
El Campanazo • Jackeline Rago and the Venezuelan Music Project 2000
Cuban Roots Revisited • Mark Weinstein, F. Aguabella, Lazaro Galarraga and O. Sosa (Cubop) 1999
Machetazo* • John Santos and Machete (Bembé) 1998
Nfumbe* • John Santos and Omar Sosa (Price Club) 1998
Pound for Pound • Charlie Hunter Quartet (Blue Note) 1998
Playing it Cool • Joyce Cooling (Heads Up) 1997
Front Porch Music • Linda Tillery (Earthbeat) 1997
Flores* • Conjunto Cespedes (Xenophile) 1997
Bird Goes Latin • Jamey Aebersold 1996
From Africa to Camaguey • Los Terry/Cuba (Round World) 1996
Tierra Adentro* • Claudia Gomez (Xenophile) 1996
Flying South • Pete Escovedo Orchestra (Concord) 1996
Ritmo Y Candela II • Patato, Orestes Vilato and Walfredo Reyes Sr. (Tonga) 1996
Hacia el Amor* • JS and the Coro Folklórico Kindembo (Xenophile) with Francisco Aguabella 1996
Machete* • John Santos and Machete (Xenophile) with Cachao and Chocolate 1995
Skin Talk* • Carolyn Brandy 1995
Vivito y Coleando* • INDIE AWARD WINNER • Conjunto Céspedes (Xenophile) 1995
Latin Jazz • Jamey Aebersold 1994
Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir • (Tuizer) 1994
Una Sola Casa* • INDIE AWARD WINNER • Conjunto Céspedes (Green Linnet) 1993
Collage/Afro-Cuban Jazz* • Bobby Matos Heritage Ensemble (Night Life) 1993
Forman on the Job • Bruce Forman, Joe Henderson (Kamei) 1992
Bebop & Beyond • Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Martin, George Cables (Blue Moon) 1991
Cantos • With legendary vocalist Lázaro Ros & Mezcla, Havana, Cuba (Intuition) 1990
Goza mi Timbal • Tito Puente Orchestra (Concord) 1989
Mr. E. • Pete Escovedo Orchestra (Concord) 1988
Africa Vol.1* • John Santos and Machete (Earthbeat) 1988
September Ballads • Mark Murphy w/ Art Farmer, Larry Coryell, Oscar Castro-Neves (Milestone) 1987
Un Poco Loco • Tito Puente Orchestra (Concord) 1987
Sensación • Tito Puente Orchestra (Concord) 1986
Si Me Ves Diferente* • Johnny Nelson Orchestra (Mila’s) 1986
Mañana Para Los Niños* • Orquesta Batachanga (Earthbeat) 1985
Yesterday’s Memories, Tomorrow’s Dreams • Pete Escovedo (Esgo) 1985
La Nueva Tradicion* • Orquesta Batachanga (Sugarloaf) 1982