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Singer and Drummer Poncho Sanchez

Poncho Sanchez

We head to the West to hear Poncho Sanchez, the drummer and bandleader who mixes Latin jazz with funk and soul.

This week's menu is sushi con salsa! We're at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland, Calif., where the wasabi has a date with the Tabasco tonight.

El Conguero Poncho Sanchez is our master chef. Before Poncho was even in high school, he was working as a singer, doing weddings and parties with soul and R&B bands. The funky rhythms and dance steps of California in the 1960s are the core of the music he's making today: the boogaloo, the shing-a-ling and especially the funky cha-cha. Before every set, Poncho tapes his fingers, seats himself at his drums and produces percussive, melodic rolls and figures calibrated to near-perfection.

Special guest Fred Wesley on trombone was one of the renowned JB Horns, having spent years with James Brown and more with Parliament/Funkadelic. Study his solos! Many instrumentalists have done so. And when he ramps the music up with his organ playing, special guest Joey DeFrancesco is as powerful as the entire Poncho Sanchez band. They will lift you off your seat, onto your feet.

Their latest CD on Concord is Out of Sight!

"El Conguero" (Poncho Sanchez)
"El Shingaling" (Francisco Torres & Poncho Sanchez)
"Asi Asi" (featuring Sal Vasquez)
"Cold Duck Time" (Eddie Harris)
"Stella By Starlight" (Ned Young & Victor Washington)
"Daa Houd" (Clifford Brown)
"Conmigo" (Eddie Palmieri)
"Watermelon Man" (Herbie Hancock)

Francisco Torres, trombone
Seraphin Agular, trumpet
Scott Martin, sax and flute
David Urquidi, baritone sax
David Torres, piano and Musical Director

Tony Banda, bass
George Ortiz, timbales
Sal Vasquez, bongos
Leader Poncho Sanchez, congas
Larry Sanchez, sound engineer


  • Poncho Sanchez Site

  • Yoshi's Site

  • Concord Records

    Field producer is Njemile Carol Jones. Mix engineer is Phil Edwards. Thanks to Yoshi Akiba, Kaz Kazunori, Hiro Hori, Peter Williams, and KCSM San Mateo. Writer Brian Sanders, recording engineer Ginger Bruner at KUNV Las Vegas.
    And the JazzSet team: Technical Director Duke Markos, Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe, Producer Becca Pulliam at WBGO Jazz 88 in Newark, NJ.

    Copyright 2007 NPR