Jazz Virtuoso David Sánchez (born 9 September 1968 in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) is a Grammy-winning jazz tenor saxophonist from Puerto Rico.
His mastery of the instrument is undeniable and his sound unmistakable.
Combine that with Sánchez's deep-seated knowledge of both Jazz and Latin music,
and the traditions that mold them, and the results are extraordinary.
In a review, world-renown jazz writer and critic Howard Reich saluted the
bandleader saying, "Sánchez's prowess on saxophone is matched by the intellectual
depth of his concept and compositions". Reich has also noted “Technically, tonally and
creatively, he seems to have it all. Recordings such as "The Departure" (1994),
"Sketches of Dreams" (1995), "Obsesion" (1998) and "Cultural Survival" (2008)
showed Sánchez merging jazz syntax with the musical dialects of his native Puerto Rico
and other Caribbean and Latin American sources.”
The influences of Puerto Rican folkloric music can be clearly heard on "Street
Scenes" (1996), his debut album on Sony/Columbia. Strains of Bomba and Plena are
also evident on "Obsesion" (1998) and "Melaza" (2000) both produced by the great
saxophonist Branford Marsalis, as well as "Travesía" (2001), Sánchez's first entirely selfproduced
It was another recording, “Coral, " that would earn David his fifth GRAMMY®
award nomination and his first Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in
2005. “Coral” features orchestrations and arrangements by prolific Argentine composer
Carlos Franzetti wit h the City of Prague Philharmonic. The album showcases
compositions by Villa-Lobos, Jobim, Ginastera, Francetti and Sánchez. All Music.com
observes "Sánchez is poised to take his place among the great jazz musicians that
continue to offer important personal and musical insights to their audiences". "Coral"
is a necessity for any jazz or classical record collection".
"Cultural Survival", David's 2008 debut on Concord Records, earned the artist
his sixth GRAMMY® award nomination. Mr. Sanchez was also the recipient of Chamber
Music America's (CMA) New Jazz Works grant. The prestigious commission was for the
creation of "La Leyenda Del Cañaveral," an extended composition insp
That critically acclaimed endeavor was followed by 2011's "Ninety Miles
Project." Sánchez joined forces with Stefon Harris and Christian Scott for the successful
album and documentary film. Both were recorded in Havana and featured not only the
three bandleaders but also some of Cuba's finest musicians. Jazz Times music writer
Michael J. West noted, "The saxophonist is the real star: He’s exquisite on “The
Forgotten Ones,” a ballad duet with Harris, and provides romance on “This Too” and
dark intrigue on the album’s one new tune, “Paradise Found.” The project would later
become The Ninety Miles Band, where Harris and Sánchez would further develop their
unique musical partnership.
Sánchez continues to tour the world as a bandleader, bringing his mix of
mainstream jazz with Afro-Latin influences to audiences around the globe. At the same
time, he is also a member of The SFJazz Collective, an all-star octet representing the
The Collective, has been one of the most prolific ensembles of the last decade.
It's known for its stellar musicians, groundbreaking compositions and innovative takes on
the music of some of the world's most influential artists.
Sánchez's unique musical sensibility can be traced to his home, Puerto Rico,
where he began playing percussion and drums at age 8. He migrated to tenor saxophone
a few years later. While a student at the prestigious La Escuela Libre de Música in San
Juan, he took up the flute, clarinet as well as soprano saxophone with teachers Angel
Marrero and Leslie López. The Bomba and Plena rhythms of his homeland, along with
Cuban, Caribbean and Brazilian traditions, were among the biggest influence on
Sanchez's early taste in music. But soon jazz masters such as Sonny Rollins, Dexter
Gordon and John Coltrane would command his ear and his imagination. "Charlie Parker,
Lester Young, Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson all have been also major influences. Of
course, and many, many others."
In 1988 Sánchez auditioned for and won a music scholarship at Rutgers University. He says, "Having the opportunity to studied with masters such as Kenny Barron, Ted Dunbar, Larry Ridley among others, was a true blessing". He was soon immersed in New York's swirling Jazz scene and was quickly recruited to tour with piano giant and mentor Eddie Palmieri. He also performed with Hilton Ruiz and Claudio Roditi who brought Sánchez to the attention of Jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. In 1991, Gillespie invited the young saxophonist to join his "Live the Future" tour with Miriam Makeba. Later having the opportunity to be a part of Gillespie's recording, "Live At The Blue Note."
Sánchez has also performed and recorded with Jazz Master and mentor, Kenny Barron (album "The Spirit Song"), Roy Haynes (album "Praise"), Charlie Haden (album "Nocturne"), Roy Hargrove (Album "Crisol"), Pat Metheny, Lalo Schiffrin, Danilo Perez, Tom Harrell, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Kenny Werner, and had the opportunity to perform with the legendary drummer Elvin Jones.
David Sánchez is also "Maestro Sánchez" to students at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. In a decade of teaching, he has proven to be a compelling presence with student musicians and is in demand for workshops and master classes in Puerto Rico and beyond. Sánchez's passion for teaching and sharing his art with up and coming musicians is palpable. " It gives me such tremendous joy. I see so much talent out there. I am very optimistic and I look forward to the future of music.”
In addition to his position as Artist in Residence at the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, Sánchez has taught master classes in Brazil, at the Peabody Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University's School of Music, Stanford University, University of Memphis, Emory University and completed a year-long residency at Georgia State University. Such work, he says, "gives me great satisfaction. At the same time, it's a real challenge, and you end up learning so much yourself. You give, but you receive too."
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