David Sánchez | Carib

The African diaspora throughout the Americas feels to me like a big river, flowing and changing its formation across various lands, but remaining one immense watercourse. Carib is my continuation of that river, a personal and musical stream I began when I became bandleader for my first album, The Departure (1994) where you can clearly hear Puerto Rican rhythms running throughout. Another fork, my album Melaza (2000), has the most substantial connection with Carib because of its flow and the strong influence of the bomba music tradition from Puerto Rico. I believe some of the greatest contributions to contemporary music and culture have come from the African diaspora throughout the Americas. Unfortunately, there seems to be too little awareness of their influence, especially the vital stories told by the music. So, I wanted to approach this album as a means to pay tribute to all Afro descendent communities who have helped define my music and the culture’s broad ranging beauty and idiosyncrasies. It's striking, and it hurts me to see


the marginalization and poor sociological conditions in so many Pan African communities, which are wrongly viewed as a simple, normal circumstance of life and consequently receive a lack of attention and action to change those conditions, and systems, which continue to create inequity. This recording is part of a new series of my recordings which begins with all original pieces inspired by the musical traditions of Puerto Rico and Haiti, then travels to other Afro descendent musical traditions throughout the Americas.Carib features traditional music from these two islands, because it still amazes me how similar their music flows. I focused on the Congo-Guinee in Haitian music because it is a musical tradition shared by many other Afro descendant cultures. Haiti has an amazing and resonant history, filled with struggles; foreign occupations, revolution, independence, national disasters, embargos, long stretches of isolation, which, at times, both created a cultural vacuum in the country and also circumstances to preserve the core of many traditions coming from Africa. Some of Haiti’s struggles, reminds me of my own island. A long time oppression created by colonists has played a central part in Puerto Rico's culture too. And after the devastation hurricane María wreaked on my island, I saw more parallels with Haiti aftermath from their tragic earthquake in 2010. Furthermore, for over a century, both islands have had their economy systematically crippled in a diversity of ways. In reality, Puerto Rico has always been a property, a casualty of imperialism, and the island has too long been in a one-sided economic relationship in which the priority has never been the well-being of country's people. Yet the cultural identity feels very strong and omnipresent despite all the struggles colonialism usually brings, and ultimately it's a genuine testament to the irrepressible people of Puerto Rico.

This album is in memory of my Father, Dimas and especially, my late wife Karla. After a great deal of research and listening to Haitian music, Karla encouraged and helped me take a trip to Haiti. It was an incredible and intense experience, seeing the everyday people's struggles. She felt like it was important that I had this direct contact with Haitian culture. I feel like this recording wouldn't have been possible without her wisdom, sensibility and love. Even if she wasn't physically around when I was in the studio, she was constantly present in many different forms and definitely a key component in the album's vibe. Although it has been a long three years of family health challenges and loss, I'm grateful because I found the strength to finalize a project that reaches my soul. Even if sometimes I don't fully understand experiences in the process of life, past or present ones, I'm thankful because they all are a part of who I am and therefore will remain always in my heart.




“He is doing what so many the smartest musicians of the the Americas are doing: fueling futuristic ambition with old vernacular traditions, and making music that easily claims art status and yet doesn't float away on self-generated intellect.” - New York Times

“Sánchez has a wonderful flair for melody and one of the most melting beautiful tenor saxophone tones in the world” - Guardian (London)


Release Date: June 7, 2019


David Sánchez | Tenor Saxophone, Barril de Bomba (2, 3, 8, 10, 11),

Percussion (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11) Vocals (3)

Obed Calvaire | Drums Vocals (5)

Lage Lund | Guitar

Ricky Rodriguez | Bass

Luis Perdomo | Piano | Fender Rhodes (2, 3, 5, 7, 11) | Vocals (5)

Jhan Lee Aponte | Percussion (2, 3, 8, 11) | Barril de Bomba (2, 3, 8, 11)

Markus Schwartz | Haitian Percussion (4, 5, 7)

All compositions by David Sánchez (publishing) Perla Verde Music. BMI Recorded Dec. 19, 20 and 21 at Systems Two Recorded and Mastered by Mike Marciano Mastered at System Two

Produced by David Sánchez and Robert Mailer Anderson


About David Sanchez

GRAMMY® award-winner David Sánchez is recognized around the world as one of the finest saxophonists of his generation. His mastery of the instrument is undeniable and his sound unmistakable. Combine that with Sánchez's deep-seated knowledge of both Jazz and Latin music and the traditions that mold them, and the results are extraordinary.

World-renowned jazz writer and critic Howard Reich saluted the bandleader saying, "Sánchez's prowess on saxophone is matched by the intellectual depth of his concept and compositions". Reich has also noted “Technically, tonally and creatively, he seems to have it all.” His debut album, "The Departure" (1994), as well as "Sketches of Dreams" (1995), "Obsesión" (1998) and "Cultural Survival" (2008) showed Sánchez merging jazz syntax with the musical dialects of his native Puerto Rico and other Caribbean and Latin America source.

The influences of Puerto Rican folkloric music can be clearly heard on "Street Scenes" (1996), strains of Bomba and Plena are also evident on "Obsesión" (1998) and "Melaza" (2000) both produced by the great saxophonist Branford Marsalis, as well as "Travesía" (2001), Sánchez's first entirely self produced recording. 

It was another recording, “Coral" that would earn David his fifth GRAMMY® award nomination and his first Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2005. This album features orchestrations and arrangements by prolific Argentine composer Carlos Franzetti with the City of Prague Philharmonic.

The album showcases compositions by Hector Villa-Lobos,Antonio Carlos Jobim, Alberto Ginastera, Franzetti and Sánchez.

allmusic.com observes "Sánchez is poised to take his place among the great jazz musicians that continue to offer important personal and musical insights to their audiences". 'Coral' is a necessity for any jazz or classical record collection".

"Cultural Survival", David's 2008 debut on Concord Records, earned the artist his sixth GRAMMY® award nomination. Two years later, Sánchez, Stefon Harris and Christian Scott came together for the "Ninety Miles Project." The successful album and documentary film were recorded in Havana and featured not only the three bandleaders but also some of Cuba's finest musicians.

JAZZ Times music writer Michael J. West noted, "The saxophonist is the real star: He’s exquisite on “The Forgotten Ones,” a ballad duet with Harris, and provides romance on “This Too” and dark intrigue on the album’s one new tune, “Paradise Found.” The project would later become The Ninety Miles Band, where Harris and Sánchez would further develop their unique musical partnership.

Sánchez continues to tour the world as a bandleader, bringing his mix of mainstream jazz with Pan-African influences to audiences around the globe. Most lately, he finalized is upcoming and much anticipated recording, "Carib" (2018) featuring original compositions inspired by melodies and rhythms coming from the Afro Puerto Rican and Haitian tradition. Two pieces on this recording, "Canto" and "Fernando's Theme", are featured in the soundtrack of the film "Windows on The World" by Robert Mailer Anderson.

At the same time, he is also a member of the SFJazz Collective, an all-star octet representing the SFJAZZ institution. The Collective has been one of the most prolific ensembles of the last decade. It's recognized for its stellar musicians, groundbreaking compositions and innovative takes on the music of some of the world's most influential artist. Sánchez's unique musical sensibility can be traced to his home, Puerto Rico, where he began playing percussion and drums at age 8. He migrated to tenor saxophone a few years later. While a scholar at the prestigious La Escuela Libre de Música in San Juan, he took up the flute, clarinet as well as soprano saxophone with teachers Angel Marrero and Leslie López. The Bomba and Plena rhythms of his homeland, along with Cuban, Caribbean and Brazilian traditions, were among the biggest influence on Sanchez's early taste in music. But soon jazz masters such as Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and John Coltrane would command his ear and his imagination. Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson all have been also major influences.

In 1988 Sánchez auditioned for and gained a music scholarship at Rutgers University. He articulates, "studying with masters such as Kenny Barron, Ted Dunbar, Larry Ridley among others, was a true blessing".

He was soon immersed in New York's swirling Jazz scene and was quickly recruited to tour with piano giant and mentor Eddie Palmieri. He also performed with Hilton Ruiz and Claudio Roditi who brought Sánchez to the attention of Jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie. In 1991, Gillespie invited the young saxophonist to join his "Live the Future" tour with Miriam Makeba. Later, having the opportunity to be a part of Gillespie's recording, "Live At The Blue Note" Sánchez has also performed and recorded with Jazz Master and mentor, Kenny Barron (album "The Spirit Song"), Roy Haynes(album "Praise"), Charlie Haden (Grammy award winner album "Nocturne"), Roy Hargrove (Grammy award winner Album "Crisol"), Pat Metheny, Lalo Schiffrin, Danilo Perez, Tom Harrell, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Kenny Werner, and had the opportunity to perform with the legendary drummer Elvin Jones.

David Sánchez is also "Maestro Sánchez" to students at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. After a decade of teaching, he has proven to be a compelling presence with students and is in demand for workshops and master classes in Puerto Rico and beyond. In 2017 he helped form a new program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, The RJAM (Roots, Jazz, and American Music).

Sánchez's passion for teaching and sharing his art with up and coming musicians is palpable. He says, "It gives me such tremendous joy seeing so much talent out there. It's a true honor to be a part of The Georgia State University School of Music faculty as the Artist in Residence in the Jazz Studies program, which provides a solid platform to help students while they strive to find their own voices. I am very optimistic and I look ahead to the future of music.” In addition to his collaboration with the Conservatory of Puerto Rico and The Conservatory of San Francisco, Sánchez has taught master classes in Brazil, at the Peabody Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, Indiana University's School of Music, Stanford University, University of Memphis, Emory University Berklee Global Institute and completed a year-long residency at Georgia State University. Such work, he says, "gives me great satisfaction. At the same time, it's challenge, because part of my responsibility is to provide the student with guidance by sharing my experiences, but also understanding that it's their own journey. In the process, as instructors, we also learn.