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Antonio Sánchez (drummer)

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Antonio Sánchez
Sánchez in 2019
Sánchez in 2019
Background information
Born (1971-11-01) November 1, 1971 (age 52)
Mexico City, Mexico
Instrument(s)Drums, Piano
LabelsCAM Jazz

Antonio Sánchez (born November 1, 1971) is a Mexican drummer and composer. He is best known for his work with jazz guitarist Pat Metheny[1] and as a composer of the film score for the 2014 film Birdman.[2] The score earned him a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score[3] and BAFTA Award for Best Film Music; he won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Score, and the Satellite Award for Best Original Score.


Sánchez was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and started playing drums at the age of five. By his teen years, he had already begun playing professionally. He attained a degree in classical piano from the National Conservatory in 1993 and then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to study at Berklee College of Music. After he graduated magna cum laude in jazz studies, Sánchez obtained a scholarship for a master's degree in jazz improvisation at Boston's New England Conservatory of Music. He is the grandson of Mexican actor Ignacio López Tarso.


Sánchez performing at the 2007 North Sea Jazz Festival.

While Sánchez was still at the Conservatory in 1997, his teacher, Danilo Pérez, recommended him to Paquito D'Rivera for the drum chair in Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra, which led to him touring with the orchestra. Later in 1997, Perez invited Sánchez to be a part of his acoustic trio which resulted in extensive touring, and the recording of the Grammy Award-nominated album Motherland.[4] The tour resulted in him being heard by legendary guitarist Pat Metheny who invited Sánchez to join the Pat Metheny Group as its drummer after a series of auditions.[5]

The group recorded two albums with Sánchez. The first one, Speaking of Now, won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2003. A DVD, under the same name, documenting the tour has been released. The second album, The Way Up, was released in January 2005. Sánchez has been a part of various quartets and trios under Metheny's direction. The Pat Metheny Trio (Metheny on guitar, Sánchez on drums, and Christian McBride on bass) released Day Trip in January 2008 to wide acclaim among jazz critics.[6] In 2012, he was the drummer on Pat Metheny's album Unity Band.

In 2006, Sánchez joined the faculty of New York University (NYU).[7] The next year, he recorded his first solo album, Migration, on CAM Jazz. The album includes Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Chris Potter, David Sánchez, and Scott Colley. All About Jazz called it "One of the best debuts of 2007."[8] Sánchez said of the album: "I didn't want people to say this is a drummer's album...I wanted it to be something that could be from any instrumentalist. I thought in terms of music, not how many solos I got and if I blew enough chops or not. I wanted the music to be very melodic and accessible and with a lot of really good interplay."[9]

In 2010, Sánchez released his second solo album, Live in New York at Jazz Standard, to positive reviews. The double live album was recorded at the Jazz Standard in New York City after a U.S. tour of Antonio's band, which included Miguel Zenón on alto saxophone, David Sánchez on tenor saxophone, and Scott Colley on acoustic bass guitar.

The year 2013 marked the release of his third solo album. New Life was recorded in January 2012. It includes 8 original compositions and features Thana Alexa on vocals, David Binney on alto saxophone, Donny McCaslin on tenor saxophone, John Escreet on piano and Matt Brewer on bass. All his solo albums have been released under the Cam Jazz label.

In 2014, Sánchez composed the film score for Birdman.[2] The soundtrack album was released on October 14, 2014.[10] The score earned him nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score,[3] BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, and other nominations; he won the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Score and Satellite Award for Best Original Score. However, he was disqualified to compete for the Academy Award for Best Original Score, since the film also contained a significant amount of classical music.

Sánchez's 2017 album, Bad Hombre, earned him a Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.[11]

Sánchez continued working with the Pat Metheny band in 2019 as they toured extensively and released an album of new material in 2020 entitled From This Place.[12]

Sánchez's 2022 album, SHIFT (Bad Hombre Vol. II), sees Sánchez joining forces with a diverse range of collaborators, including Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Dave Matthews & Pat Metheny, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Meshell Ndegeocello, Kimbra, Lila Downs, Ana Tijoux, Becca Stevens, Silvana Estrada, MARO and Thana Alexa.


Sánchez plays Yamaha drums, Remo drumheads, and Zildjian cymbals and sticks, as well as LP Percussion exclusively.


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Michael Brecker

With Dewa Budjana

With Gary Burton

With Avishai Cohen

With Scott Colley

With Chick Corea

  • Dr. Joe (Stretch, 2008)

With Bendik Hofseth

  • XI (Grappa, 2009)

With Pat Metheny

With Enrico Pieranunzi

  • Latin Jazz Quintet Live at Birdland (Cam Jazz, 2010)
  • Permutation (Cam Jazz, 2012)
  • Stories (Cam Jazz, 2014)


  1. ^ Nastos, Michael G. (November 1, 1971). "Allmusic biography & performance credits". Allmusic.com. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's 'Birdman' to Feature Music by Antonio Sanchez". filmmusicreporter.com. January 7, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Nominations 2015 — Golden Globe Awards". goldenglobes.org. December 11, 2014. Archived from the original on December 12, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  4. ^ ""All About Jazz" Antonio Sanchez Bio". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  5. ^ "Biography in Drummer World". Drummerworld.com. November 1, 1971. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  6. ^ Pareles, Jon (January 28, 2008). "New York Times new album reviews". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  7. ^ NYU Faculty Bio Archived December 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "All About Jazz album review". Allaboutjazz.com. January 8, 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  9. ^ "Ken Micallef from Modern Drummer". Moderndrummer.com. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  10. ^ "'Birdman' Soundtrack Details". filmmusicreporter.com. September 18, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  11. ^ "60th Annual Grammy Awards". Grammy Awards. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  12. ^ ""Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist and xenophobe. But every racist and xenophobe voted for him": Antonio Sánchez interview – marlbank". www.marlbank.net. Retrieved December 21, 2018.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]