Poncho Sanchez (born October 30, 1951), is a Mexican-American conguero (conga player), Latin jazz band leader, and salsa singer. In 2000, Sanchez and his ensemble won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for their work on the Concord Picante album Latin Soul. Sanchez has performed with artists Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaría, Hugh Masekela, Clare Fischer and Tower of Power, among others
In 1975, Sanchez's idol, vibraphonist Cal Tjader, invited him to perform one set with his band. Seeing the young man's talent, Tjader hired Sanchez for a week before officially making him a full member of the ensemble. Sanchez played a crucial role as conguero for several years until Tjader's death in 1982.
Before he died, Tjader suggested that Concord Records founder Carl Jefferson sign Sanchez and his soon-to-be-formed group under the Concord Picante label. Tjader's wishes were honored, and the first two records were composed and arranged by long-time Tjader collaborator Clare Fischer.
Poncho Sanchez went on to produce 19 albums for the label, eventually garnering a Grammy for his work. Currently, Sanchez is respected as one of the top American percussionists of our time. He performs frequently in venues varying in size from concert halls to local jazz festivals. His 2005 CD, Do It!, features the iconic funk band Tower of Power on two tracks as well as South Africantrumpeter Hugh Masekela.