Antonio Sánchez, music is my safety and my refuge
BY MERCY RAMOS, PHOTOS: JOSÉ (TITO) MERIÑO AND COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
Five times Grammy Award winner, Mexican musician Antonio Sánchez is considered by critics and the general public as one of today’s most prominent and innovative drummers, not only because of his magnificent interpretation of every melody he plays, but also because of his compositions.
It can be said that Antonio, as the popular saying goes, “was born with a loaf of bread under his arm”, referring to those children who later are fortunate in some aspect of life. In his case, “he came into the world with a drum kit under his arm”, since he began playing it at a very young age, barely five years old, and it has provided him with countless successes throughout his artistic life.
He graduated from the National Conservatory of Music with a B.A. in Classical Piano in 1993, and then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. After completing his Jazz Studies, he attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he received a Master’s degree in Jazz Performance, Improvisation and Arrangement.
Sánchez has performed with prestigious musicians from groups such as the United Nation Orchestra, which belonged to the late trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie; with the trio of Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez, and
Five times Grammy Award winner
has been part of groups led by some of the legends of modern music, such as Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Gary Burton, Charlie Haden and Toots Thielmans, all of which have led him to occupy a leading position in the world of jazz today. He has also been the favorite drummer and closest collaborator of legendary jazz guitarist Pat Metheny for over 18 years.
For this outstanding jazzman, to have participated in the Drum Festival in 2018 was a “great fortune and an unforgettable experience,” he said in an interview with CubaPLUS Magazine.
Later on he said that the Drum Festival “is a festival unique in the world. The participants are top quality and the shows presented are exceptional. But the part that makes it so special is the amount of extraordinary Cuban music that one can listen to day after day and night after night in the theater, in the theater’s garden, in the street, in the clubs”.
The cultural exchange that the festival creates with visitors and participants is something that nourishes the spirit in a formidable way, he said, and he regretted that the global pandemic prevented it from taking place in 2020, but he hopes that it will continue in 2021, when he intends to participate again.
Referring to his future projects, he commented that he is working on his next album as a soloist, Bad Hombre Vol. 2. This, he explained, is a special project, which should be released in September 2021, where singers will participate, both in English and Spanish. From them he asked for a song with voice only plus some accompaniment in order to make the arrangements and production and transform it to have the drums work hand in hand with the voice.
For him, music is his refuge: “It’s where I feel comfortable and safe, but always with challenges. It’s the way I can express my mood, my thoughts and my physical prowess on the instrument. It is my vehicle to communicate with the audience and convey something positive that is bigger than me, as an individual”.