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John Santos Sextet
John Santos Sextet
John Santos Sextet
Photo by Tom Ehrlich, courtesy of the artist

The John Santos Sextet is one of the premier Latin jazz ensembles in the world. Born in San Francisco, bandleader Santos was raised in the Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean traditions of his family and surrounded by the fertile musical environment of the Bay Area.

Across a career spanning five decades, he has been recognized for his achievements as a composer, producer, percussionist and Afro-Latino music educator. He is a seven-time GRAMMY nominee, 2012 San Francisco Latino Heritage Arts Award winner, and SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director (2013 and 2014). Since 1984, he has written, recorded, and published more than 100 original compositions, mostly on his Machete Records, and has performed with masters such as Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Cachao, Eddie Palmieri, Francisco Aguabella, Susana Baca, Lalo Schifrin, and Carlos Santana.

Santos has served on the Smithsonian’s Latin Jazz Advisory Committee and is a faculty member at the California Jazz Conservatory. There is a PBS documentary in progress about his work.


  • John Santos, percussionist, bandleader
  • John Calloway, flute player
  • Marco Diaz, pianist, trumpeter
  • David Flores, drummer
  • Melecio Magdaluyo, saxophonist
  • Saul Sierra, bassist

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