The Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band includes: Poncho Sanchez – congas, Phillip Menchaca – trombone, Larry Sanchez – audio engineer, Ron Blake – trumpet and flugelhorn, Andy Langham – piano, Rob Hardt – saxophone. Ross Schodek – bass, Giancarlo Anderson – bongos and percussion, Jose Perez – timbalero and percussion.
For more than 3 decades, congero master, 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 and South America sources. Sanchez has kept the flame lit playing the music of and with his many influences, mentors, and fellow musicians like Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo, Hugh Masakela, Clare Fischer, Tower of Power, Jose Rizo, Ilya Seron, Benny Golson, Art Pepper, and Freddie Hubbard. Sanchez has recorded 27 albums over 37 years with Concord records, and has appeared on over 50 recordings to date. Sanchez played in Cal Tjader’s group for 8 years, and has led his own group for 40 years. Sanchez received a Grammy for best Latin album in 1999, and recorded a tribute album with trumpeter Terrence Blanchard dedicated to the Afro-Cuban music of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo, entitled “Chano Y Dizzy”. Sanchez’ most recent recording is dedicated to the music of John Coltrane. Sanchez continues to honor jazz giants who have helped shape his own music by building on their rich legacies. Sanchez is part of the many jazz luminaries in which he pays profound tributes to as a composer, performer, and is in the forefront as one of Latin Jazz’s trailblazers.
Trombonist Phillip Menchaca is a busy L.A. area jazz musician who has performed with The University North Texas State 2 O’Clock Lab Band, The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band, The Igor Kogan Big Band, The Phat Cats Swingers Band, and teaches at El Camino Community College. Audio engineer Larry Sanchez provides the high quality sound of Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, and is a free lance musician, keyboardist, and vocalist.
Trumpet and Flugelhorn musician, Ron Blake, began playing music at the age of 9, and studied and played at The Hamilton High School Academy of Music, and Cal State University, Northridge. Hardt won the Dolo Coker music competition, and has played with The Original Jazz Butchers, who play contemporary, well known jazz music.
Pianist Andy Langham studied jazz performance at The University of North Texas State, and has toured/performed/recorded with over 36 major jazz and pop artists. Langham teaches jazz piano at Cal State University, Long Beach, and is active on the L.A. Jazz scene.
Saxophone and Clarinet musician, Rob Hardt , has played with The Budman/Levy Orchestra, The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band, Gary Urwin’s Jazz Orchestra, and The Bill Fulton Band. Hardt has over 175 recording credits and is a graduate of The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y..
Bassist Ross Schodek of Dallas, Texas, is a graduate of North Texas State University. Schodek has played in The North Texas State University 3 O’Clock Lab Band, and with over 30 different artists and groups. Multi-Percussionist, Giancarlo Anderson, has been playing professionally over 15 years and has performed on several Grammy nominated recordings. Giancarlo has recorded commercials, worked on music productions, movies, soundtracks, toured, and is a teaching artist. Giancarlo has performed with the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Big Band, Blue Mambo, Grupo Latin Vibe, Ilya Seron, and others.
Percussionist Jose Perez, is an in-demand musician on the L.A. music scene. Perez studied at The University of North Texas State, and has played with Snarky Puppy, Us The Duo, Ernie Watts, Bob Reynolds, Bokante, Haley Reinhart, Ya Yennings, and leads his own band, “Estrilo Y Gracia.”