Premiere: Hear Poncho Sanchez Salute Coltrane with New Version of ‘Blue Train’


Conguero Poncho Sanchez is set to issue Trane’s Delight on Sept. 20 through Concord Picante.

(Photo: Estevan Oriol)

The first record Poncho Sanchez bought with his own money—when he was 11—was Coltrane.

The percussionist has held on to his affection for the visionary saxophonist in the intervening years while working with a host of inimitable bandleaders—Cal Tjader, Woody Herman, Tito Puente—and leading his own groups. Trane’s Delight, a disc due out Sept. 20 on Concord Picante, reifies Sanchez’s dedication to the John Coltrane with several covers set among original numbers and works penned by Duke Ellington and Hubert Laws.

“I’ve always loved John Coltrane ever since I was a kid and first learned about jazz,” Sanchez said in a press release. “I’ve recorded tributes to a lot of my heroes ... so, I thought it was definitely time to do a tribute to the great John Coltrane.”

For Sanchez’s take on “Blue Train,” which debuts here, the opening theme remains as recognizable and inspired as when it first appeared on record more than 60 years back. Bolstered by the bandleader’s work—and the first solo by trombonist and musical director Francisco Torres—it all comes off as a respectful update, one that’s a little less blue than the original.

For info on Sanchez’s upcoming performances, visit his website. DB

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