John Santos is the musical equivalent of a celebrated archeologist. His latest album Art of the Descarga represents the most recent attempt to excavate the remarkable histories of cultures, pioneers and rhythms responsible for the dynamic nature of contemporary Latin Jazz.
With Marco Díaz, Saul Sierra, Dr. John Calloway, Melecio Magdaluyo and David Flores, Santos leads a sextet of supremely gifted Bay Area musicians that he's played and recorded throughout his career. From rumba, danzón and guaracha, to mambo, plena, bomba and the nuance of Jazz, the band has the unique ability to explore anything within the pantheon of Afro-Caribbean influences that have shaped so many aspects of American music.
Released by Smithsonian Folkways Records, Art of the Descarga arrives from a label with a history of publishing musical stories cast in historical, political and socio-economic terms. As educator, community figure and social activist, Santos has spent his career captivated by these stories and the people, places, rituals and rhythms that they connect.
For Santos, it always comes back to the drum, an instrument he wields masterfully while exploring the improvisational essence of descarga. Transitional, timeless, and never out of style, Art of the Descarga shows how this unique inspiration endures, transforming everything it touches into a new opportunity to dig into the past while celebrating being present in the creative future of now.
Click on the featured album below to hear or purchase Art of the Descarga.