Poncho Sanchez and Terence Blanchard: Cubano Be! Cubano Bop!

It’s usually a knock against a musician when someone says that he plays to please himself. In the case of congero Poncho Sanchez, given his exquisite taste, high standards and extensive knowledge of the Latin and American repertoire, it’s actually quite a compliment.

Sanchez, who shares the bill today with trumpeter Terence Blanchard in a swinging concert called Cubano Be! Cubano Bop!, grew up in Los Angeles watching his older sisters dance the mambo and cha-cha-cha, and listening to his older brothers’ soul albums. Somewhere along the line, he discovered Latin jazz, and his career was born.

“If you come to see a Poncho Sanchez concert,” he tells us, “you’re going to be guaranteed that you’re going to hear some authentic Latin jazz, a little bit of salsa and a little bit of Latin soul. It’s all just an extension of the things I love to listen to.”

Sanchez and Blanchard recently released the CD Chano y Dizzy!, an homage to Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo, the two men Sanchez says invented Latin jazz. Today’s concert will be sure to include some of those tunes (a medley of songs by both men including takes of Pozo’s "Ariñañara" and Gillespie’s "Con Alma") and compositions written in their honor (Sanchez’s pianist David Torres’s "Dizzy’s Dashiki"). 8 p.m. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Avenue. For information, call 713‑524-5050 or visit www.dacamera.com. $33 to $60.
Sat., Oct. 15, 8 p.m., 2011

 
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