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Antonio Sanchez: Conversations with the Music

By Published: June 15, 2006
AAJ: That's another thing that keeps coming up as well, becoming egoless. You can be however you want to be offstage, but for that moment you have to move aside.

AS: And I think the transcendence of music is when very established people can get rid of that on the bandstand. They let their talent guide them through the music without thinking to suppress anything, it just works in very interesting ways. Whenever there is someone I want to play better for in the bandstand, I usually play better.

AAJ: Can you explain that a little bit?

AS: Pat always asks, "Are there any target members in the audience? Do we have any guests? To have a target member in the audience usually helps me focus a little more. I used to find that when I played the little bars and no one was paying attention to me, I was a little careless when I played. You know, I used to always think, "How can these guys who are my idols, watching them on videos, hearing them live and on records, how do they seem to get better every time I hear them, more mature, more refined?

Antonio SanchezAnd I think that the secret is inside the big leagues, when you're playing with really good musicians all the time in front of a lot of people who paid a lot of money to see you, that really does put you in a different frame of mind than when you're playing in a little bar, I think that no matter what anyone says. Because a lot of people will say, "No, that's not true, music is music, that shouldn't matter. I think musicians are some of the most affected people when other people are not paying attention—and they always say otherwise. They're not playing for the audience, they're doing it because they like it. But if the audience doesn't clap, if they don't react—it's so frustrating, no matter who it is. If you can get something across, you've done what you came to do.

AAJ: You talked about a musician achieving a state of transcendence. Transcendence to what?

AS: You know, something bigger than us. And I am not saying that in a religious way at all. Something bigger in terms of what can be created by two, three, four, a big band, twenty people, whatever. And when everyone can transcend their own beings and egos into creating this higher thing together, that is music. That's when you transcend.

AAJ: Well, I think that pretty much sums it up. What have you got going on these days.

AS: Well, I'm touring with the revival of the Gary Burton Quartet with Pat Metheny and Steve Swallow, then I'm touring with the Pat Metheny Trio. I just did a record with [bassist] Scott Colley's band, I'll be doing some stuff with [bassist] John Pattitucci's band and [pianist] Kenny Werner's Quartet. I did something with [pianist] Chick Corea. I'm also doing some clinics and drum festivals and teaching at a few different events this summer. I'm hoping to do my first solo CD too. We'll see how that goes.

Selected Discography

Diego Urcola, Viva (CamJazz, 2006)

Donny McCaslin, Soar (Sunnyside, 2006)

Pat Metheny Group, The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005)

Alex Sipiagin, Returning (Criss Cross, 2005)

Miguel Zenon, Jibaro (Marsalis Music, 2005)

Janis Siegel, Sketches of Broadway (Telarc, 2004)

Miguel Zenon, Ceremonial (Marsalis Music, 2004)

Michael Brecker, Wide Angles (Verve, 2003)

Pat Metheny Group, Speaking of Now (Warner Bros., 2002)

Avishai Cohen, Unity (Stretch, 2001)

Danilo Perez, Motherland (Verve, 2001)

David Sanchez, Travesla (Columbia, 2001)

Marcus Roberts Trio, In Honor of Duke (Columbia, 1999)

Photo Credits:

Top Photo: Dragan Tasic

Center Photo: Tony Rodgers

Bottom Photo: Bruce C Moore

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