One of the premier Afro-Latin Jazz groups in the US


"Not in our Name" w/ extraordinary special guests: prolific visual artist Adrian Arías and supreme vocalist Destani Wolf

Seven-time Grammy nominee, 2012 San Francisco Latino Heritage Arts Award winner, SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director (2013 & 2014), and US Artist Fontanals Fellow, John Santos, is a major bandleader, composer, producer, percussionist, and educator in Afro-Latin music with a professional career spanning five decades. He has written, recorded and published well over 100 original compositions, mostly on his Machete Records label since 1984 and has performed and/or recorded with masters such as Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Cachao, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Omar Sosa, Susana Baca, Lalo Schifrin, McCoy Tyner, Batacumbele, Giovanni Hidalgo, Armando Peraza, Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana, Bebo Valdés, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, and Carlos Santana. He served on the Smithsonian’s Latin Jazz Advisory Committee and as a faculty member at the California Jazz Conservatory, the College of San Mateo, and Jazz Camp West. John has also lectured extensively and conducted countless clinics in the United States, Europe and Latin America, including such prestigious institutions as Yale, Stanford, UCLA, the Manhattan School of Music, the Museum of the African Diaspora, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Berklee School of Music in Boston, and Humboldt State University in California. He was founder and director (1985-2006) of the internationally renowned, Grammy-nominated Machete Ensemble, and currently directs the Cubadisco-nominated, John Santos Sextet. He was featured prominently in the PBS American Masters documentary, Cachao: Uno Mas (2008). The documentary film, Santos: Skin to Skin, by Kathryn Golden and Ashley James, was released in 2023. He performed at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC in September, 2016. John is an advisory board member of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (NY) and Living Jazz (Berkeley, CA), a Board member of the Oaktown Jazz Workshop (Oakland, CA), and a former Trustee of SFJAZZ. November 12th, 2006 was declared John Santos Day in his hometown of San Francisco by Mayoral proclamation!

The John Santos Sextet is one of the premier Afro-Latin Jazz musical groups in the US. They illuminate the aesthetic characteristics of Latin Jazz pertaining to instrumentation, rhythm, interpretation and improvisation through live performance and recording. Organized in 2003, their repertoire consists of original compositions and exciting original arrangements of classic rhythms, styles and songs from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the US. Their various recordings are a musical banquet celebrating the Afro-Latino roots of jazz through imaginative writing and playing in collaboration with dozens of the greatest multi-generational players in the field from various countries. Equally at home with a dance or concert repertoire, The John Santos Sextet presents a wide range Latin American Jazz for audiences of all ages. Their newest CD, Vieja Escuela (Old School), with 14 musical guests was released in January of 2024.

Marco Díaz - piano, trumpet
Saul Sierra - bass
Dr. John Calloway - flutes, piano
David Flores - drums
Charlie Gurke - saxes
John Santos - percussion