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John Santos is one of the foremost proponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today. He is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music, and has earned much respect and recognition as a record and event producer. He has performed, recorded and studied with acknowledged masters of the Afro-Latin and Jazz idioms such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Lazaro Ros, Armando Peraza, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Vald?s, Francisco Aguabella, Orestes Vilat?, Rene L?pez, Max Roach, and Chocolate Armenteros.
This experience has provided a solid foundation for Mr. Santos' current ground-breaking work in bringing together styles, rhythms, concepts and artists from different generations.
Born in San Francisco, California, November l, l955, he was raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music. The fertile musical environment of the San Francisco Bay Area shaped his career in a unique way. His studies of Afro-Latin music have included several trips to New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil and Colombia.
He is widely respected as one of the top writers, teachers and historians in the field and is currently a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. Mr. Santos has contributed to the international magazines Percussive Notes, Modern Drummer, Modern Percussionist, and Latin Percussionist. The San Francisco Bay Area community in which he still lives and works has presented him with numerous awards and honors for artistic excellence and social dedication.
Mr. Santos is also a distinguished and creative multi-percussionist and recording artist. His diverse credits (in addition to those listed above) include: Bobby Hutcherson, Grupo Mezcla (Havana, Cuba), Lalo Schifrin, Irakere West, Santana, Yma Sumac, Linda Tillery, Cal Tjader, Danilo Perez, Ignacio Berroa, Omar Sosa, Jon Jang and Charlie Hunter. He was the director of the Orquesta Tipica Cienfuegos (l976-1980) and the Orquesta Batachanga (1981-1985). Santos currently directs the Machete Ensemble, a world-class Latin Jazz band of international renown since 1986.