Though he started drumming at young age of 5, Antonio Sánchez decided to pursue classical piano studies at the prestigious Conservatorio Nacional de Música in his native Mexico City. Soon after, he switched to the equally prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, which from he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in jazz studies.
Since then, he hasn’t looked back. Moving to New York City in 1991, Sánchez quickly became an in-demand drummer for jazz greats such as Michael Brecker, Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Pat Metheny. Working with the latter, Sánchez won three Grammy Awards (and a fourth for his own score to the movie “Birdman”), and Metheny has high praise for his colleague.
“The drummer is the one who is basically setting the upper and lower ranges of what the dynamic range will be in every band,” said Metheny in a recent interview with Drum magazine. “There is an understanding at work with Antonio that I trace to his abilities as a piano player. I notice that drummers who have skills on other instruments — Jack DeJohnette comes to mind — often have an awareness of the whole picture in ways that might not be there with someone who only plays the drums.
“The core of what Antonio does is a deep musicality that pervades everything. There are plenty of drum details and technical things going on, but none of that means anything unless it actually means something, which in his case, it does. Beyond that is the most important aspect of all: He’s an excellent listener.”
When Sánchez appears for an SCP Jazz concert May 18, he will be performing with his band Migration: vocalist Thana Alexa, pianist John Escreet, bassist Matt Brewer and saxophonist Chase Baird. “The band has been evolving exponentially, and we’ve achieved a level of consistency and interaction that can only be acquired though extensive touring,” Sánchez said in an interview on his site. ” ‘The Meridian Suite’ [his 2015 album with Migration] has proved to be one of the most fun and rewarding live experiences of my career. We’ve been performing it in its entirety in all kind of venues all over the world, and it’s still growing, morphing and developing. Thana, John and Matt have been the perfect combination of musical personalities who have made this kind of growth possible.”