Welcome to a very special podcast series brought to you by Concord Jazz and JAZZIZ Magazine. All month long we’ll be presenting stories and interviews about some of the incredible artists of Concord Records, a label that plays an essential role in keeping jazz’s rich artistic traditions alive. Founded in 1973 by Charles Jefferson, Concord Jazz is synonymous with high-quality jazz, becoming the home to such legends as Art Blakey, Ray Brown, Charlie Byrd, Rosemary Clooney, Stan Getz and Mel Tormé. It keeps that tradition alive today with the likes of Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, Dave Koz and so many more. The Concord Spotlight shines a light directly on those artists, bringing you the stories behind their music in their own words.
When it comes to Concord artists, no one has been involved with the label longer than the legendary percussionist and vocalist Poncho Sanchez, a true pioneer of Latin jazz. Born in Texas in 1951, Poncho’s career took off in the mid-1970s when he was asked to join the world-famous Latin jazz ensemble led by vibraphonist Cal Tjader. Poncho performed with him until Tjader’s untimely death in 1982. A year later, Poncho began a relationship with Concord Records that has lasted to this day, one that has resulted in more than two dozen recordings, a Grammy Award and several Grammy nominations.
On his latest project, Trane’s Delight, Poncho celebrates the life and music of the iconic saxophonist John Coltrane. Due out September 20 via the Concord Picante subsidiary, Trane’s Delight is a love letter from one musical pioneer to another, as the Latin Jazz legend pays homage to one of his earliest and most indelible influences. The album arrives just in time for the late tenor titan’s 93rd birthday on September 23.
We recently spoke with Poncho at the 50th annual Concord Jazz Festival in Concord, California, where the percussionist was onsite to perform material from the new album. In a wide-ranging conversation, we discussed the monumental influence that Coltrane had on his life, as well as the innate Latin aspects of Coltrane’s playing. Poncho is an amazing artist and a captivating storyteller. We know you’re going to love this podcast. And it wouldn’t be possible without the help of Concord Records, the home of jazz heritage. If you’d like to check out all of the amazing Concord releases coming out right now, visit their website at concord.com.