More than anything else, Poncho Sanchez is a storyteller. As leader of the most popular Latin jazz group in the world today, his congas and seasoned ensemble do the talking. Live in concert or on recordings, they spin vivacious tales that pay homage to the glories of the half-century-old tradition that was born when Afro-Cuban rhythms merged with bebop.
Do It!—the latest in a long series of Poncho Sanchez releases that began in 1982 for Concord Picante—is distinct, even by Sanchez’s high standards. The album features, on two tracks, Tower of Power, an iconic group that has become a high-octane symbol of the funk era of the 1970s. Another two tracks boast the presence of an equally legendary musician, South Africa’s Hugh Masekela. Over the years, Sanchez has hand picked guest artists who have had a special role in shaping his growth as a musician, from trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and saxophonist Eddie Harris, to Latin jazz patriarch Tito Puente, conga titan Mongo Santamaria, and Ray Charles. The guests invited to participate on Do It! have been among Sanchez’s favorites for decades. "I’m just doing the things I grew up with, and that I respect and really love," he adds. "It’s part of my life."