Poncho Sanchez (born October 30, 1951) is a conguero (conga player), Latin jazz band leader, and salsa singer. In 2000, Sanchez and his ensemble won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album for their work on the Concord Picante album Latin Soul. Sanchez has performed with artists Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Hugh Masakela, Clare Fischer and Tower of Power, among others.
The youngest of eleven children, Poncho Sanchez was born in Laredo, the seat of Webb County, Texas. He was reared in Norwalk, California. Growing up, Sanchez was exposed to and influenced by two very different styles of music: Afro-Cuban music (mambo, son, cha-cha, rumba, guaracha, salsa) by greats such as Tito Puente, and bebop jazz, including the works of Charlie Parker. Originally a guitarist, he discovered his talent for singing during an audition for an R&B band that rehearsed across the street from where he lived, becoming the lead vocalist of the group. Sanchez would later go on to teach himself t
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