Poncho Sanchez: The conguero with 'picante' will play Philly this weekend
In genres of music, there is Elvis Presley for rock-n-roll, Marc Anthony for salsa, and for Latin jazz there is Poncho Sanchez. With music spanning over four decades, the two-time Grammy winner has been the driving force for the worldwide popularity of Latin jazz music. Before his visit to the Merriam Theatre in Philadelphia this weekend, AL DÍA had the pleasure to talk with “El Conguero”.
Can you take us back to the humble beginnings of your career?
You were introduced to Latin Jazz legend Cal Tjader in an interesting way:
What advice can you give any young artists up and coming in Latin Jazz?
What is your opinion on Donald Trump’s comments on Mexicans?
“I’m not much of a politician, I’m a musician. I think he is a little rash and outrageous, but he is bringing up issues that have brought problems to the United States. His ideas are radical and crazy, but nobody would be talking about it if he would not have brought it up. I feel that everyone is welcome, but let’s do it the right way. My parents were both born in Mexico. They met in Laredo, Texas and married young. As soon as they made a family in the United States, my parents wanted to become American citizens. My mother and father went to classes to become an American citizen. They were very proud to become Americans. You have people these days that don’t want to become citizens. It’s not the same as when my mother and father got here. Something needs to be done but I don’t know what that is.”
When you come to the Merriam theatre this Sunday, what should the fans expect to hear?
“We are going to do a little mixture of everything from authentic Salsa music, Latin Jazz, and a little bit of Latin Soul. We also got some new music from our upcoming tribute album to John Coltrane. We will be in the studio starting in January. We are doing some of the John Coltrane music Poncho Sanchez style live for everyone. Arturo Sandoval and I played in Philadelphia about several years ago. I really enjoy it there. I know Arturo Sandoval very well and it’s always an honor and pleasure to play opposite of him. We’re really looking forward to come to Philly and play. It’s a family affair. Bring the whole family. We got something for everybody. When we get there, we’re going to jump, shout, and shimmy!”
For a complete discography list, concert schedule, or to purchase any of Sanchez’ music, go to www.ponchosanchez.com. Tickets are still available for the show. For information, call the Kimmel Center at (215) 893-1999 or visit www.kimmelcenter.org.