John Santos Sextet

SantosJohn CrdTomEhrlichw/ special guests Orestes VilaJose Roberto Hernandez & Rico Pabón 

Afro-Latin Jazz

Performing at People's Park Stage, 4:30 - 6 pm

Multi-Grammy nominated percussionist, US Artists Fontanals Fellow, and 2013-2014 artist-in-residence for the opening of the SFJAZZ Center, John Santos soars as one of the foremost proponents of Afro-Latin music in the world. John was raised in a musical Puerto Rican and Cape Verde family within San Francisco’s Mission District. He is known internationally as a brilliantly inventive composer/performer in traditional and contemporary music.

While the Mission District is famous as the birthplace of Carlos Santana’s Latin rock, it is also the hot bed of another realm of Latin music - the tropical Caribbean Afro-Latin music. John began drumming at the age of 11 with his grandfather’s band. His musical journey has led him to carry the cultural torch travelling to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Europe and New York. He has performed with many Latin and Jazz greats such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Max Roach, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, and Carlos Santana.

Since 1976, Santos has brought together stunning musicians from the Americas and directed award winning bands, including the internationally renowned, Grammy-nominated Machete Ensemble (1985-2006). John’s Machete Records label (founded in 1984) continues today.

SFJAZZ founder Randall Kline credits the percussionist with ensuring that Latin culture has a seat at the jazz table. “Apart from the superb bands he has led, he has taught me the importance of the Caribbean Basin’s role in the formation of jazz, as well as its influence on popular music.”


 The all-star John Santos Sextet, + special guests Cuban timbale/drumming legend Orestes Vilató, multi-insturmetalist/folklorist Jose Roberto Hernandez & hip-hop to spoken word artist  Rico Pabón is Berkeley World Music Festival's 2016 headlining act. With thus set of musicians, this promises be equal to the best show John Santos has put together!

The band's repertoire consists of creative original compositions as well as exciting original arrangements of classics from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the US. Their second CD, Perspectiva Fragmentada, released in 2008, was nominated by the Jazz Journalists Association (NY), and by Cubadisco (Cuban Grammys) as one of the top Latin Jazz releases of the year.

JS Sextet consists of John Santos (congas, percussion) and the following illustrious artists:

Bassist Saul Sierra graduated from the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston. He has added his rock-solid rhythmic and harmonic foundation to the Bay Area's Latin Jazz and Salsa fields, through recordings and performances with Jackeline Rago, Fito Reinoso, Charanson, Maria Márquez, Jesus Diaz, Vissión Latina and John Santos and The Machete Ensemble among many others.

Pianist/trumpeter, Marco Dias, among the busiest musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a graduate of the SF State music department. Marco's exciting playing can be heard with some of the most popular groups on the scene including Charanson, Jesus Diaz, and Mazacote. He is also a founding member of Visión Latina.

Flautist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and bandleader, John Calloway, is a founding member of John Santos' Machete Ensemble (1985), and has written and arranged for many groups in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York. He has been teaching music in San Francisco public schools since the late 1980s and directs the Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco. He has performed with Batachanga, Beny Velarde, Charanson, Cachao, Conjunto Libre, Charlie Rodriguez and Charanga 76.

Saxophonist/flautist, Melecio Magdaluyo is a true multi-instrumentalist (soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet, flute, piano, percussion). He is also a premier, long time educator in San Francisco public schools and a founding member of JS’ Machete Ensemble (1985). He has recorded and/or performed with The Whispers, Confunction, Tito Puente, Pete Escovedo, Sheila E., and M.C. Hammer to name just a few.

Drummer/percussionist, David Flores has performed and recorded with Lauryn Hill, Donna Summer, Francisco Aguabella, Pete Escovedo, Jesus Diaz, John Santos, Steve Turre, Peter Erskine, Bobi Céspedes, Mark Levine, Ray Vega, John Calloway, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, and more.

Berkeley World Music Festival © 2016
Bringing a world music festival to the San Francisco Bay Area for the 13th consecutive year.