Poncho Sanchez

Top Songs & Albums Poncho Sanchez


... read moreThe American-born percussionist Poncho Sanchez is one of the leading congueros in the world, and has mastered a dizzying number of styles and genres, including salsa, mambo, funk, and various gradations of jazz. He got his start in the 1960s playing with vibraphonist Cal Tjader's outfit, and lending...

Key songs

Poncho Sanchez
Watermelon Man (Album Version)
Poncho Sanchez
El Shing-A-Ling
Poncho Sanchez
El Sabroson (Album Version)
Poncho Sanchez
Sonando (Album Version)
Poncho Sanchez
One Mint Julep


Active: 1960s-2010s
Country Of origin: Latin America

The imaginative rhythms of Poncho Sanchez have made him one of the most influential conga players and percussionists in Afro-Cuban jazz. In addition to recording as a soloist, Sanchez has been featured on albums by the Jazz Crusaders, Eddie Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Dianne Reeves, Joey DeFrancesco, and Terence Blanchard. Becoming a member of vibraphonist Caj Tjader's Band in 1975, Sanchez remained with the group until Tjader's death on May 5, 1982. By then, he had already planted the seeds for his own career as a bandleader. He recorded two solo albums -- Poncho in 1979 and Straight Ahead in 1980 -- and began performing with his own group in 1980, during Tjader's vacations. A native of Laredo, Texas, Sanchez moved to Los Angeles at the age of four, where he was deeply influenced by the music he heard in the Chicano neighborhood in which he lived. Initially a guitarist, he played with a series of junior high school and high school rhythm & blues bands. Teaching himself to play congas, he spent hours practicing to Caj Tjader, Machito, and Tito Puente records. He was also deeply influenced by the hard bop sounds of the Jazz Crusaders. After more than two decades in music, Sanchez's efforts paid off when his album, Latin Soul, received a Grammy award as Best Latin Album of 1999. Throughout the next decade, Sanchez continued to record, releasing such albums as 2000's Soul of the Conga, 2001's Latin Spirits, 2003's Out of Sight!, 2005's Do It!, 2007's Raise Your Hand, and 2009's hard bop-influenced Psychedelic Blues. In 2011, he paid tribute to the innovative Afro-Cuban recordings of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo by teaming up with trumpeter Terence Blanchard for Chano y Dizzy! Sanchez followed it up with a concert set entitled with Live in Hollywood, with his Latin Jazz Band. ~ Craig Harris~ Rovi

Similar artists

Jerry Gonzalez
Ray Barretto
Mongo Santa Maria
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Tito Rodriguez

Appears in

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