It really can be a small world in jazz sometimes. Drummer Antonio Sanchez, born in 1971 in Mexico City, graduated from the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City and then went off to school in Boston at Berklee and then to the New England Conservatory, where one of his teachers was Panama’s Danilo Perez.
When Cuban-born Paquito D’Rivera called Perez to try to fill a drum seat in Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra, Sanchez was off and drumming. Before long he had toured with Perez and was part of the Pat Metheny Group.
But Sanchez is hardly limited. He has released his first album as a leader and also performed with Marcus Roberts, Charlie Haden and the late Michael Brecker, among others. When Sanchez joined Metheny, Gary Burton and Steve Swallow in their reunion, Metheny said: ” (Sanchez) freed us all up to dig deep, back into this material, with a whole new perspective on it.”
It’s no surprise Sanchez made his career in the arts — his grandfather, Ignacio Lopez Tarso, is a well-known actor who has starred in Mexican soap operas.
Sanchez: “Just to lift your spirit, that is the sole purpose of music, I think. Music can completely change the way you feel in a second.”
Sanchez currently lives in New York and teaches at NYU when he’s not playing.
Next Monday: Puerto Rico
Amos Lee doesn’t sound like a school teacher, but he was for two years after graduating from South Carolina and returning to his native suburban Philadelphia (Cherry Hill, N.J.).
Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the children he taught, he sought a career in music. Now 32, he’s just recently released his fourth album, Mission Bell (link to a song from it below). “It’s heart music, not head music, and Amos Lee – to this fan’s great relief — once again proves himself a master of the genre,” said a reviewer.
Don’t try to peg his voice, or his music. Whether it’s more blues or folk, or reminds one more of John Prine or Willie Nelson or James Taylor or someone else is moot. It’s all Amos Lee. Listen, and enjoy.
Well to all my friends, that I’ve loved the most
You know I’m heading out to that other coast
I’m going to wash my soul, and I’m gonna get it clean
Heading down the border road, called the El Camino
Here’s a link to a recent interview and performance on the World Cafe:
Amos Lee on World Cafe
Another in the long line of talented musicians a.) with Philadelphia roots (Reed was born there in 1970) and b.) mentored by Wynton Marsalis.
Reed moved to Los Angeles when he was 11, and his primary influences were twofold: jazz pianists like Horace Silver, and his faith, not necessarily in that order. Reed’s father was a minister and a gospel singer, and Reed was playing the piano as early as the age of 2. He met Wynton in his teens and soon replaced Marcus Roberts when Roberts left. Reed had entered Cal State Northridge and attended for one year, but left for a jazz education with Marsalis.
Before long he was leading his own trio, and he soon recorded albums declaring It’s All Right to Swing, and another dedicated to Art Blakey. He’s now led nearly 20 albums. On Manhattan Melodies he penned Letter to Betty Carter, for the jazz singer who died in 1998, with the accompanying lyrics:
Exciting, inviting, igniting, providing
Everywhere you’d go
A voice so full of healing
No words could let you know that I will always love your voice, so healing
Reed, 40, still plays, teaches and has worked on projects as varied as an Eddie Murphy film to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Ahmad Jamal, twice Reed’s age, has called him “one of my favorite pianists.” Ours too.
Here’s link to a Bill Evans composition, played by Reed.