Around the World Monday: Puerto Rico’s David Sanchez

7 Feb

David Sanchez’s own website asks: “Is Sanchez a master of Latin jazz or an exemplary player who also happens to be of Latin heritage?”

Answer? Both. Or it’s irrelevant — just listen and enjoy.

Born in 1968 in Guaynabo, just south of San Juan in the metropolitan area, Sanchez dabbled with other instruments before focusing on the saxophone. He earned a music scholarship to Rutgers and was soon lured in by the gravitational pull of the New York jazz scene. He associated with many of the elder statesman — Dizzy Gillespie before his 1993 death, drummers Elvin Jones and Roy Haynes — and in a few years Sanchez had embarked on a career as a band leader. He won his first Grammy in 2005 — it likely won’t be his last.

Give Sanchez himself the final word on the question yet to be answered: “I think the music speaks for itself. If you really listen, you’ll discover that it would be incomplete to call it Latin Jazz. But I don’t get concerned about labels . . . It’s like art in a museum. You see a painting and it means something to you, but it means something completely different to someone else . . . I just keep doing what I’m doing.”

We hope he keeps right on doing, as he did with the title track of his 2008 release Cultural Survivor (link above).

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