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Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: Poncho Sanchez in Toronto

Grammy Award-winning conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez commemorates one of jazz music’s most influential collaborations. In 1947, Dizzy Gillespie and the great Cuban drummer Chano Pozo came together…



Grammy Award-winning conguero and bandleader Poncho Sanchez commemorates one of jazz music’s most influential collaborations. In 1947, Dizzy Gillespie and the great Cuban drummer Chano Pozo came together to create the revolutionary recording, Cubano Be, Cubano Bop. More than 60 years later, Sanchez channels the rhythms and beats of the time in a concert that crackles with all the energy and vibrancy of the original work. The 2010 Edison Award winner for Best International Jazz Artist, twenty-something New Orleans jazz trumpeter, Christian Scott, has been heralded by JazzTimes magazine “jazz’s young style God.”

Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band featuring Christian Scott 
Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm – Koerner Hall, Toronto

Poncho Sanchez, congas & leader
Francisco Torres, trombone & musical director
Tiki Pasillas, timbales
Rob Hardt, saxophone
Ron Blake, trumpet
Andy Langham, piano
Angel Rodriguez, bongos
TBA, bass

Christian Scott, trumpet

Poncho Sanchez and his special guest Christian Scott, with the backing of the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, are touring the hot new project: Cubano Be, Cubano Bop, a tribute to the legacy of the immortal Dizzy Gillespie and the original conga king, Chano Pozo. In the late 1940s, the Cuban percussionist with the American music icon unwittingly changed the face of music history when their collaborations ignited the Afro-Cuban jazz genre. Their 1947 concert at Carnegie Hall has since become the stuff of legend, yielding such instant standards as “Manteca,” “Tin Tin Deo,” and “Cubano Be, Cubano Bop.” Poncho and Christian have put together a program that recreates the energy, spirit, and innovation of that seminal 1947 concert by Chano & Dizzy as they perform the Afro-Cuban standards, their own compositions, and fresh new collaborations.

Poncho Sanchez: Conga
For more than three decades as both a leader and a sideman, conguero Poncho Sanchez has stirred up a fiery stew of straight-ahead jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources. His influences are numerous, but the most prominent were two of the primary architects of Latin jazz – conga drummer and composer Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Sanchez pays tribute to these two titans on his latest album, Chano y Dizzy!, his 25th recording as a bandleader on Concord Picante.

Although born in Laredo, Texas, in 1951 to a large Mexican-American family, Sanchez grew up in a suburb of L.A., where he was raised on an unusual cross section of sounds that included jazz, Latin jazz, and American soul. Along the way, he taught himself to play guitar, flute, drums, and timbales, but eventually settled on the congas. At 24, after working his way around the local club scene for several years, he landed a permanent spot in Cal Tjader’s band in 1975 and remained with him until the bandleader’s death in 1982. That same year, he signed with Concord for the release of Sonando, an album that marked the beginning of a musical partnership that has spanned more than 25 years and has yielded more than two dozen recordings.

Christian Scott: Trumpet
Trumpeter Christian Scott grew up in New Orleans and went to Berklee College of Music on full scholarship, where he earned two degrees in two years and eventually launched a music career that has positioned him as one of the great innovators of his generation.

Mr. Scott was already proficient enough to join his uncle’s (saxophonist Donald Harrison) band when he was 13, and he played on Harrison’s 2000 recording, Paradise Found, when he was 16. In 2002, he made his solo debut with his self-released and self-titled album, Christian Scott, and, in 2006, after much attention and landing a record deal with Concord Jazz, he released Rewind That, an album whose mixture of modern jazz, rock, and R&B garnered a Grammy nomination. Anthem, released the following year, was in large part a statement about the political and social dynamics that enabled many people to ignore the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. His subsequent recording, Live at Newport, released at the end of 2008, captures Mr. Scott and his four-piece ensemble performing at the JVC Jazz Festival in Rhode Island earlier that year. His latest album is Yesterday You Said Tomorrow and, like Anthem, it takes aim at certain injustices persistent in society.

Latin Jazz Network is a project dedicated to the advancement of Latin jazz and its creators. Since 2000 LJN has been spreading the word about this wonderful music known under the umbrella term: LATIN JAZZ.

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