Tenor saxophonist David Sanchez was born in Puerto Rico in 1968. Attracted
by the rhythms of the Afro-Caribbean musical traditions, he began playing
the conga at eight years old, listening to groups like Irakere, local danza
and other traditional forms, as well as Classical music. At the age of
twelve he began studying at La Escola Libra de Musica, where he took up the
Two years later, in 1982, through his sister, David was exposed to Miles
Davis and Billie Holiday, immediately making him an ardent fan of Jazz and
opening a new world of sonic possibilities.
Considering a career in psychology while in college in Puerto Rico, the
call of music was too strong and David auditioned for Berklee and Rutgers
in 1988, choosing the latter, in good part for its proximity to the New
York scene. Soon he connected with pianist Danilo Perez and reunited with
old friends, trumpeter Charlie Sepulveda and percussionist Giovanni
Hidalgo, leading to a stint with Salsa legend Eddie Palmieri. The
genre-crossing multicultural music of Palmieri was a natural fit for
Sanchez, and a great learning experience that soon hooked him up with
trumpeter Claudio Roditi, saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and eventually Dizzy
Gillespie in 1990.
Diz took the young saxophonist under his wing, inviting David to join his
United Nation Orchestra, and they regularly worked together in both large
and small group formats, until Dizzy’s retirement in 1992. A featured
performer in most of the worldwide celebrations of his mentor’s 75th
birthday year, Sanchez played alongside many of Jazz’ most celebrated figures.
Since leaving the world of Gillespiana, David has performed with such
notables as Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Heath, Kenny Barron, Chucho
Valdes and as an original member of Slide Hampton’s Jazz Masters, with whom
he continues to perform today.
But since 1994, his primary focus is performing in the U.S. and overseas
with his own quintet, where he weaves a rich tapestry reflecting his many
experiences and influences, enhanced by his own vigorously lyrical and
rhythmically charged sax work. Contracted to Columbia/Sony since 1993,
Sanchez has released four albums, including his most recent, the Grammy