About the JS Sextet


Classic Latin Jazz from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the US

  • John Santos – congas, percussion
  • Saul Sierra – bass
  • Marco Diaz – piano
  • John Calloway – flute, percussion
  • Melecio Magdaluyo – saxes
  • David Flores – drumset

Multi-Grammy nominee and USA Fontanals Fellow, John Santos, and his stellar Sextet shed light on the historical and cultural significance of Latin Jazz, as well as its aesthetic characteristics pertaining to instrumentation, rhythm, interpretation and improvisation. Organized in 2003, they specialize in educational presentations from lecture/demonstrations to detailed clinics focusing on any number of relevant subjects such as composition, arrangement, rhythmic development, stylistic interpretation, studio performance, etc. Their repertoire consists of exciting arrangements from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the US, as well as original compositions. Their first CD, Papa Mambo, was released on John’s Machete Records label in the Summer of 2007. Their second CD, Perspectiva Fragmentada, was released in October, 2008. Equally at home with a dance or concert repertoire, The John Santos Sextet presents a wide range of styles and rhythms for audiences of all ages.

bassistBassist, Saul Sierra, graduated from the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area around 1998. He is currently the most in-demand bassist on the local scene in the Latin Jazz and Salsa fields, having added his rock-solid rhythmic and harmonic foundation to recordings and performances with Jackeline Rago, Fito Reinoso, Charanson, Maria Márquez, Jesus Diaz, and John Santos and the Machete Ensemble among many others. Saul is also a founding member of Visión Latina.

marco-diaz4Dynamic pianist, Marco Diaz, is also among the busiest musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. His understanding of the Jazz and Latin idioms and how they work together defies his age. Marco’s exciting playing can be heard with some of the most popular groups on the scene including Charanson, Jesus Diaz, and Mazacote. He is also a founding member of Visión Latina and an excellent trumpet player!

calloway7Exciting flautist, John Calloway, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and educator active in the vibrant San Francisco music scene since the mid 1970s and teaching music in the public school district since the late 1980s. He is a founding member of John Santos’ Machete Ensemble (1985), and has written and arranged for countless groups in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York. His second CD as a band leader, The Code, was released in the Summer of 2007. He’s performed with Batachanga, Beny Velarde, Charanson, Cachao, Conjunto Libre, Charanga 76, Rey Reyes, and Charlie Rodriguez.

687U2568Extraordinary saxophonist/flautist, Melecio Magdaluyo, is a multi-instrumentalist (soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, clarinet, flute, piano, percussion) and educator active in the vibrant San Francisco music scene since the mid 1970s and teaching in the public school district since the mid-1990s. He is a founding member of John Santos’ Machete Ensemble (1985), and is one of the most solicited freelance recording and performing musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. Melecio was born and raised in San Francisco and has recorded and/or performed with The Whispers, Confunction, Tito Puente, Pete Escovedo, Sheila E., and M.C. Hammer.

687U2710Versatile drummer/percussionist, David Flores, is an active local teacher and has performed and recorded with Lauryn Hill, Donna Summer, Francisco Aguabella, Pete Escovedo, Jesus Diaz, John Santos, Steve Turre, Peter Erskine, Bobi Céspedes, Mark Levine, Ray Vega, John Calloway, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Los Mocosos, and Ska Cubano.

687U3474Multi-percussionist, John Santos, is a major exponent of Afro-Latin music through innovative use of traditional forms and instruments with contemporary music. He’s been a prolific performer, composer, teacher, writer, radio programmer, and record/event producer for over 35 years, having worked with acknowledged masters such as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Max Roach, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Steve Turre, McCoy Tyner, Batacumbele, Omar Sosa, Giovanni Hidalgo, Negro Hernandez, Eddie Marshall, and Carlos Santana. John is a member of the Latin Jazz Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Institution. He has conducted countless workshops, lectures and clinics in the US and Europe since 1972 at institutions of all types including the Adventures in Music program of the San Francisco Symphony, the Berklee School of Music in Boston, UCLA, Yale, Stanford, Duke, the Universities of Wisconsin at Madison and Milwaukee, the University of Michigan, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State Hayward, Cal State Sonoma, Cal State Sacramento, Cal State San Jose, Tulane University of Louisiana, The Jazz School in Berkeley CA, Jazz Camp West, the Los Angeles Music Academy, College of San Mateo, and La Universidad Inter-Americana in San Germán Puerto Rico. He was the founder and director (1985-2006) of the internationally renowned, Grammy-nominated Machete Ensemble, who released nine CDs with special guests from Puerto Rico, Cuba, NY, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, mostly on John’s Machete Records label.