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Poncho Sánchez: 1951—: Jazz Percussionist, Vocalist Biography

A Home Filled With Music, Poncho And The Conga, Sánchez On His Own, Still Jammin'

A classic conguero, Poncho Sánchez, a giant on the Latin jazz scene, has developed into salsa's elder statesman. Sánchez, a Chicano from Texas, taught himself guitar and congas, and gained experience singing with a teen band, but found himself shut out of opportunities to play with Cubans and Puerto Ricans, who considered themselves the sole heirs of salsa. At age 23 he found a mentor, vibraphonist Cal Tjader, and was able to make his own way to the top, gig by gig. His open, inclusive style has survived over three decades of constant travel, annual recordings, percussion workshops, and absorption in new trends, new performers, and the tastes of his fans. Internationally acclaimed by percussionists and jazz aficionados, Sánchez became a leading player and producer of a consistent string of hit albums layering Latin jazz, Afro-Cuban, salsa, bop, funk, and rhythm and blues.

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