From the liner notes . . .
The artist must choose between freedom and slavery. Paul Robeson
It is no sign of good health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
\"Little\" Johnny Rivero
Paul Van Wageningen
Que no se muere el tambÃ³! - words of wisdom spoken by the elders over the centuries - advice for the ages with special significance as we grapple with so-called technological advances and the loss of the meaning of the word spiritual. The precious rhythmic gifts of rumba, mambo, son, danzÃ³n, bembÃ©, bomba, mozambique, batÃ¡, and palo are the foundation of the compositions presented here. They are gifts born of struggle, designed to heal through movement of body and thought, determined to instill hope and document our journey in our own voices. These musical/cultural roots are deep which is why we must resist the common practice of reducing it all to entertainment. In today\'s socio-political climate, the arts are the unifying common denominator that is becoming the lone voice for sanity and peace.
This is our humble attempt to honor our ancestors and add to the modern movement/ancient concept of music as community forum where celebration of life and justice for all are equally considered. We put it forth with the utmost respect for the music and its true pioneers and defenders who always understood its positive, unifying power and its unique ability to smash barriers of every type. Let it be known far and wide that dancing and enjoying the music does not diminish its profound history, nor its role in our communities and shaping our future. For Cachao, Ray Barretto, Tata GÃ¼ines, Patato, Tommy Lopez, AngÃ¡, Arsenio, Diz, Paul Robeson, Mingus, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Danny Rivera, Andres Jimenez, Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo MilanÃ©s, Ruben Blades, Piri Thomas, Amiri Baraka, Sekou Sundiata, Bamuthi, Paul Flores, Avotcja, Genny Lim, Silvio Alava, Dr. Robert Farris Thompson, and the progressive, activist community of the San Francisco Bay Area with gratitude and much love. js
Four-time Grammy nominee, and US Artists Fontanals Fellow, JOHN SANTOS, is one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today. 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, composer, and record and event producer. He has performed, recorded and studied with acknowledged masters of the Afro-Latin and Jazz idioms such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Lazaro Ros, Armando Peraza, Eddie Palmieri, Patato ValdÃ©s, Francisco Aguabella, Orestes VilatÃ³, Rene LÃ³pez, Max Roach, Batacumbele, Steve Turre, John Faddis and Chocolate Armenteros. This experience has provided a solid foundation for Mr. Santosâ€™ current ground breaking work in bringing together styles, rhythms, concepts and artists from different generations.
Born in San Francisco, California, November l, l955, he was raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family, surrounded by music. The fertile musical environment of the San Francisco Bay Area shaped his career in a unique way. His studies of Afro-Latin music have included several trips to New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil and Colombia.
Mr. Santos is widely respected as one of the top writers, teachers and historians in the field and is a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. He has conducted lectures, workshops and clinics in the Americas and Europe since 1973. He has contributed to the international magazines Percussive Notes, Modern Drummer, Modern Percussionist, and Latin Percussionist. The San Francisco Bay Area community in which he still lives and works has presented him with numerous awards and honors for artistic excellence and social dedication.
Mr. Santos is also a distinguished and creative multi-percussionist and recording artist. His diverse credits (in addition to those listed above) include: Bobby Hutcherson, Grupo Mezcla (Havana, Cuba), Lalo Schifrin, Irakere West, Santana, Yma Sumac, Linda Tillery, Cal Tjader, Danilo Perez, Ignacio Berroa, Omar Sosa, Jon Jang and Charlie Hunter. Mr. Santos founded and directed the GRAMMY-nominated Machete Ensemble from 1985 to 2006, a world-class Latin Jazz band of international renown. They recorded and released nine CDs during that time, mostly on Mr. Santosâ€™ Machete Records label.