An unauthorized biography of saxophonist David Sánchez

David Sánchez

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Toni Basanta in Fairfax, Vermont, USA
David Sánchez
David Sanchez.jpg

Sánchez with Ricardo Rodriguez on double bass
Background information
Born (1968-09-09) September 9, 1968 (age 49)
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Saxophone

David Sánchez (born 9 September 1968 in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) is a Grammy-winning jazz tenor saxophonist from Puerto Rico.


SANCHEZ  took up the conga (tumbadora) when he was eight and started playing tenor saxophone at age 12.

His earliest influences were Afro-Caribbean and danza but also European and Latin classical.  At 12 Sanchez attended La Escuela Libre de Musica, which emphasized formal musical studies and classical European styles  and was much taken with a Miles Davis album, Basic Miles, featuring John Coltrane, as well as Lady in Satin, a 1958 album by singer  Billie Holiday with strings, arranged and conducted by Ray Ellis.

Sanchez considered a college career in psychology,  but auditioned at Berklee and Rutgers University.  Sanchez chose Rutgers because he got a better scholarship and was near New York which was Sanchez’ goal. While at Rutgers, Sanchez studied with pianist Kenny BarronTed Dunbar  and John Purcell.

Career takes off

Sanchez joined Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra in 1990 and Dizzy became Sanchez’ mentor.

Dizzy’s group toured 27 countries, and 100 U.S. cities in 31 states, and also saw other notable musicians   as Brazilian singer Flora Purim for example and her husband-percussionist Airto Moreira.

After the United Nation Orchestra, Sanchez continued to play with Dizzy until Dizzy’s death  in 1993, mainly in Dizzy’s Trio with pianist  Mike Longo.

Since then he has toured with the Philip Morris SuperBand, recorded with Slide Hampton and his Jazz Masters, Charlie Sepulveda, Roy Hargrove,  Chucho Valdes, Kenny Drew, Jr., Ryan Kisor, Danilo Perez, Rachel Z,   McCoy Tyner, Harold Lopez-Nussa,  Hilton Ruiz,  Eddie Palmieiri, The Czeck Philharmonic with Argentinian pianist Carlos Franzetti, Maraca and his  Latin Jazz All-Stars, Ninety Miles,  and headed his own sessions for Columbia Records and other labels.

Lead musician

After joining Columbia Records, SANCHEZ  released seven albums.

In 2005,  Sanchez won the Grammy award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for Coral, which was two years in the making.

Recorded in The Czech Republic with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Coral features a Jazz Sextet  with   alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, pianist Edsel Gomez, bassists John Benitez and Ben Street, drummer Adam Cruz, and percussionist Pernell Saturninowith arrangements by Carlos Fanzetti.


As leader

  • The Departure (1994)
  • Sketches of Dreams (1994)
  • I Miss You John (1995)
  • Street Scenes (1996)
  • Obsession (1998)
  • Melaza (2000)
  • Travesia (2002)
  • Coral (2004)
  • Cultural Survival (2008)

As co-leader

As sideman

As guest artist

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Charlie Haden

With Harold López Nussa

  • El País de las Maravillas (World Village, 2011)

With Mario Castro

  • Estrella de Mar (Interrobang Records, 2014)

With Orlando Valle “Maraca and his Latin Jazz All-Stars




Soon in my HAVANA FAIRFAX CONNECTION TV show @ LCATV in Cochester, Vermont, USA,  “Ninety Miles Live @ Cuba Disco in Havana with Harold Lopez-Nussa and Rembert Duharte Bands.




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