• Monterey Jazz 2011: John Santos Sextet

    September 21, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    John Santos leads his sextet at the 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival. (Image Credit: Cole Thompson/Monterey Jazz Festival)

    There's an overtly political edge to John Santos latest recording, Filosofía Caribeña, Vol. 1: It's designed as a commentary on Afro-Latino history. Even if you don't speak Spanish, you could sense it when Santos' sextet performed this material — particularly in the strident, prideful and virtuosically bilingual raps of guest MC Rico Pabón. Jazz's social commentaries are often abstracted into instrumental music; here, it had literal voice.

    But just as often, that aggression transmuted to commanding, original grooves, themselves morphing throughout the course of songs. Santos is a Bay Area mainstay, a musical anchor and outspoken ambassador of an active Latin jazz scene only two hours north of Monterey. And he's put together a tight band that works on both intellectual and physical terms, as they showed an excitable Night Club audience on the first night of the 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival.


    • John Santos, percussion
    • Melecio Magdaluyo, saxophones
    • Dr. John Calloway, flute/piano
    • Marco Diaz, piano/trumpet
    • Saul Sierra, bass
    • David Flores, drums
    • Rico Pabón, spoken word

    Credits: Paul Cain, mix engineer.

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