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As Elvis is to rock and James Brown is to soul, Poncho Sanchez is to salsa . . . particularly the congas.
—Los Angeles Times
There are few percussionists in Continental USA who play with his virtuosity on what has now come to be called the congas.
—Latin Jazz Network
For more than three decades, Grammy-winning 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. Throughout his career, Sanchez has carried the torch lit by such Latin jazz innovators as Mongo Santamaría, Tito Puente, and Cal Tjader.
Sanchez’s influences are numerous, and his catalog is rich with deeply personal homages to several of his mentors—Santamaría, Puente, and Tjader among them. But alongside those Latin pioneers, one of the most prominent figures informing Sanchez’s music is the iconic saxophonist John Coltrane. On Sanchez’s latest album, the Grammy-nominated Trane’s Delight, the conguero pays tribute to the jazz legend with Latin-tinged reimaginings of Coltrane classics as well as spirited originals composed in honor of the tenor titan.
Producer’s Circle member Tom G.