Thursday To-Do: Poncho Sanchez Latin Band | Rock Candy

Thursday To-Do: Poncho Sanchez Latin Band

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PONCHO SANCHEZ LATIN BAND
7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA, Conway. $30-$35.

Rumor has it that at age 13, Poncho Sanchez' mother fled to the U.S. after hiding under the bed as revolutionary Pancho Villa stormed her village. For this I thank her, because rare are percussionists or drummers who front their own bands and rarer are those who embark and maintain successful careers spanning four decades. By fusing two of the most complex and beautiful rhythmic genres, world-famous conguero (conga player) Poncho Sanchez has become one of the most famous Latin jazz artists in music history. Raised on Afro-Cuban music such as mambo, cha-cha, rumba, and salsa, as well as on bebop jazz from greats such as Charlie Parker, Sanchez honed his skills as a percussionist and broke into the limelight at 23 when he joined vibraphonist Cal Tjader's famed Latin jazz ensemble in 1975. Since then, he's released an impressive 27 recordings, which have earned him several Grammy nominations and the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. Other styles woven into Sanchez' musical tapestry include R&B and, best of all, funk, which can be attributed to many collaborations and performances with iconic 1970s high-octane funk ensemble Tower of Power, with whom Sanchez shared the stage as part of an all-star band assembled for the eighth anniversary of “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

—Paul Peterson

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