John Santos / ‘Art of the Descarga’ / Smithsonian Folkways
Percussionist, educator, and social activist John Santos will release Art of the Descarga, a new album with the John Santos Sextet, on August 7 through Smithsonian Folkways. Santos is an icon of Latin jazz who played a key role in positioning the San Francisco Bay Area as a hub for the genre, and who has performed with Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Max Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie. As a founder of the Machete Ensemble, and as a bandleader, Santos has been one of the most revered percussionists specializing in Afro-Cuban traditions, and has emerged as a leading expert on the history and folklore of those rhythms. Like much of his life’s work, his new album paints a direct through-line from Africa to Cuba, and considers the expansive, multiregional array of jazz that has been woven into the fabric of American music for the past century.