Antonio Sánchez (drummer)

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Antonio Sánchez
Antonio Sánchez in Santiago, Chile, with the Chick Corea Trio, May 2010
Background information
Born (1971-11-01) November 1, 1971 (age 45)
Mexico City, Mexico
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Labels CAM Jazz
Associated acts Pat Metheny Group, John Patitucci

Antonio Sánchez (born November 1, 1971) is a Mexican-American jazz drummer.[1] In 2014 his popularity increased when he composed original music for the movie Birdman.[2] The soundtrack album was released on October 14, 2014.[3] The score earned him a nomination for 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score[4] and a nomination for the 2015 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA).


Sánchez was born in Mexico City 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, Sanchez obtained a scholarship for a Masters in Jazz Improvisation at Boston's New England Conservatory. He is the grandson of Mexican actor Ignacio López Tarso.


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 Sanchez to be a part of his acoustic trio which resulted in extensive touring, and the recording of the Grammy-nominated album Motherland.[5] The tour resulted in him being heard by legendary guitarist Pat Metheny who invited Sanchez to join the Pat Metheny Group as its drummer after a series of auditions.[6]

The group recorded two albums with Sánchez. The first one, Speaking of Now, won a Grammy Award in 2003 in the "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" category. A DVD under the same name documenting the tour has been released. The second album, The Way Up, was released in January 2005. Sanchez has been a part of various quartets and trios under Metheny's direction. The Pat Metheny Trio (Metheny on guitar, Sanchez on drums, and Christian McBride on bass) released Day Trip in January 2008 to wide acclaim among jazz critics.[7] In 2012, he was the drummer on Pat Metheny's album Unity Band.

In 2007 he recorded his first solo album, Migration, on Cam Jazz. The album includes Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Chris Potter, David Sanchez, and Scott Colley. All About Jazz called it "One of the best debuts of 2007."[8] Sanchez 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]

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

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 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 music for Birdman.[2] The soundtrack album was released on October 14, 2014.[10] The score also earned him the nomination for 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score,[4] a nomination for the 2015 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), and other nominations. He was however disqualified to compete in the Academy Award for Best Original Score, since the film also contained a significant amount of classical music.


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

Drums: Yamaha Absolute Maple Nouveau:

Heads: Remo

Sticks: Zildjian signature sticks

Cymbals: Zildjian

  • 16" K EFX
  • 20" K light flat ride
  • 18" K EFX
  • 14" K constantinople hi-hats
  • 8" A custom splash (x2, inverted and stacked)
  • 22" K constantinople medium thin ride, low
  • 22" Kerope
  • 14" fx trashformer/12" fx oriental china "trash" (stacked)
  • 20" Kerope
  • 22" A swish knocker w/ 20 rivets

Personal life[edit]

Sánchez has lived in New York City since 1999 and joined the Faculty of New York University in 2006.[11]


As leader[edit]

  • Migration (CAM Jazz, 2007)
  • Live in New York (CAM Jazz, 2010)
  • New Life (CAM Jazz, 2013)
  • Three Times Three (CAM Jazz, 2014 in Europe, 2015 in the US)
  • The Meridian Suite (CAM Jazz, 2015)

As sideman[edit]

With Avishai Cohen

With Alexei Tsiganov & Misha Tsiganov

  • Tsiganov Brothers (BMI, 2003)

With Michael Brecker

  • Wide Angles (Verve, 2004)

With Gary Burton

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)

With Dewa Budjana

  • Hasta Karma (MoonJune, 2015)

As score composer[edit]


  1. ^ Nastos, Michael G. (November 1, 1971). "Allmusic biography & performance credits". Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  2. ^ a b c "Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's 'Birdman' to Feature Music by Antonio Sanchez". January 7, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  3. ^ "'Birdman' Soundtrack Details". September 18, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Nominations 2015 — Golden Globe Awards". December 11, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ ""All About Jazz" Antonio Sanchez Bio". Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  6. ^ "Biography in ''Drummer World''". November 1, 1971. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  7. ^ Pareles, Jon (January 28, 2008). "''New York Times'' new album reviews". Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  8. ^ "''All About Jazz'' album review". January 8, 2008. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  9. ^ "Ken Micallef from ''Modern Drummer''". Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  10. ^ "'Birdman' Soundtrack Details". September 18, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  11. ^ NYU Faculty Bio Archived December 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]