Five‐time Grammy‐nominated producer, bandleader, percussionist and US Artists Fontanals Fellow, John Santos, is one of the foremost exponents of Afro‐Latin music in the world today. Born in San Francisco, 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 an educator and composer.
John was the 2012 San Francisco Latino Heritage Awardee and was honored with the 2013 Man of the Year Award by Brothers on the Rise (Oakland, CA). He was also a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. He is currently part of the faculty at the Jazz School Institute (Berkeley, CA) and the College of San Mateo (CA). He has conducted countless workshops, lectures and clinics in the US, Latin America and Europe since 1972 at institutions of all types including the Adventures in Music program of the San Francisco Symphony, the Berklee School of Music in Boston, UCLA, Yale, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Oakland Conservatory of Music, Stanford, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Michigan, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State Hayward, the University of Colorado, and many others.
John was the director of the Orquesta Tipica Cienfuegos (l976‐1980) and the award‐winning Orquesta Batachanga (1981‐1985). He was founder and director of the internationally renowned, Grammy‐nominated Machete Ensemble (1985‐2006), that released nine CDs with special guests from Puerto Rico, Cuba, NY, LA, and SF. He currently directs the John Santos Sextet, Latin jazz ensemble. Their second CD, Perspectiva Fragmentada, released in October 2008, was selected as one of the five top Latin Jazz CDs of 2008 by New York’s All About Jazz magazine, among many honors, and their latest CD, Filosofía Caribeña Vol.2, is receiving rave reviews. John has produced four full length CDs with his Afro‐Caribbean Folklóric Ensemble, El Coro Folklórico Kindembo, since 1994, two of which wereGrammy‐nominated. A PBS documentary on John’s work is currently underway by Oakland’s Searchlight Films.