John Santos is a Bay Area jazz institution all by himself. Charismatic bandleader, percussionist extraordinaire, dedicated educator, and five-time Grammy nominee, John has worked with enough musical legends to fill a hall of fame, from Dizzy Gillespie to Max Roach, Tito Puente to Tootie Heath. His Machete Ensemble, with stalwarts Wayne Wallace and Orestes Vilató, occupied the pinnacle of Latin jazz in the Bay Area for more than twenty years. These three men know how to make music that rocks, swings, sizzles, and grooves.
Born and raised in San Francisco, John absorbed the musical traditions of his family, rooted in Puerto Rico and Cape Verde. His fascination with Afro-Latin music has taken him to New York, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, and Colombia. He has excelled not only as a strong band leader and unparalleled percussionist, but also as a composer, producer, writer, and teacher, working with young musicians from Berkeley’s Jazzschool to Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
Wayne, also a native of San Francisco, is a Grammy-nominated trombonist, composer, and arranger who has played with Ray Charles, McCoy Tyner, Steve Winwood, and Lena Horne. His playing is melodic, graceful, and full of warmth. Latin Beat Magazine has called Orestes “the most influential Cuban timbalero north of Havana.” Born in Camagüey, Cuba, a key player in the rise of East Coast salsa with artists like Rubén Blades, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, and the Fania All Stars, Orestes came to Northern California as a member of the Santana band thirty years ago and has been a local treasure as well as an international sensation ever since.
If your heart thumps to a Latin beat, don’t miss these three giants of jazz on the bandstand at the Freight.
Visit John Santos's website
Visit Wayne Wallace's website
Visit Orestes Vilató's website