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John Santos


Percussionist, composer, writer and educator; John Santos 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 and Colombia.

John Santos is one of the foremost exponents 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.
Widely respected as one of the top writers, educators and historians in the field, Mr. Santos is a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution and 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 include: Grupo Mezcla (Havana, Cuba), Irakere West, Santana, Cal Tjader, Charlie Hunter, Danilo Perez, Linda Tillery, Ignacio Berroa, Omar Sosa, Bobby Hutcherson, McCoy Tyner, Lalo Schifrin, Jon Jang, Yma Sumac, Pete and Sheila Escovedo, Mark Murphy, John Faddis, Batacumbele and Batucaje. He was the director of the Orquesta Tipica Cienfuegos (l976-1980) and the Orquesta Batachanga (1981-1985). Mr. Santos currently directs the Machete Ensemble (since 1986), a world-class Latin Jazz band of international renown, and is recording and touring with the Cuban piano phenom, Omar Sosa.

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