Psychedelic Blues by Poncho Sanchez on Apple Music

11 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Latin Jazz has been around for more than half a century and the undisputed capital of the genre is New York, but one of the style’s key figures, conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez, is based in Los Angeles. Early in his career, the Mexican-American percussionist played in vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s group, but he's been recording as a leader since 1982 and 2009’s Psychedelic Blues is a keeper. It’s a no-nonsense affair that simmers throughout, featuring sharp arrangements and fine solos. (Guitarist Andrew Synowiec is especially good.) The tribute, “Willie Bobo Medley,” is comprised of three songs by or associated with the late percussionist: “I Don’t Know,” “Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries,” and “Spanish Grease.” Psychedelic Blues includes several other covers, including versions of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island,” Freddie Hubbard’s “Crisis,” John Coltrane’s “Grand Central,” and Horace Silver’s “Silver’s Serenade.” The album closes with René Touzet’s “Con Sabor Latino,” a fitting wrap-up for this nice slice of West Coast Latin jazz: the Cuban native Touzet led a popular group in L.A. in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Latin Jazz has been around for more than half a century and the undisputed capital of the genre is New York, but one of the style’s key figures, conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez, is based in Los Angeles. Early in his career, the Mexican-American percussionist played in vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s group, but he's been recording as a leader since 1982 and 2009’s Psychedelic Blues is a keeper. It’s a no-nonsense affair that simmers throughout, featuring sharp arrangements and fine solos. (Guitarist Andrew Synowiec is especially good.) The tribute, “Willie Bobo Medley,” is comprised of three songs by or associated with the late percussionist: “I Don’t Know,” “Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries,” and “Spanish Grease.” Psychedelic Blues includes several other covers, including versions of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island,” Freddie Hubbard’s “Crisis,” John Coltrane’s “Grand Central,” and Horace Silver’s “Silver’s Serenade.” The album closes with René Touzet’s “Con Sabor Latino,” a fitting wrap-up for this nice slice of West Coast Latin jazz: the Cuban native Touzet led a popular group in L.A. in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

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5:07
4:33
5:15
6:39
4:46
4:08
6:16
4:49
3:54
4:43
5:46

About Poncho Sanchez

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

  • ORIGIN
    Laredo, TX
  • BORN
    Oct 30, 1951

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