Daniel Ponce

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Daniel Ponce (July 21, 1953 – March 14, 2013) was a Cuban-American jazz percussionist.

Ponce played locally in Havana from age 11 and played percussion in a group called Watusi. He was exiled from Cuba in 1980 and fled to New York City, soon after working there with Paquito D'Rivera, Jose Fajardo, Andy Gonzalez, Jerry Gonzalez, and Eddie Palmieri.[1] In 1982 he played three batá drums as a session musician for the Herbie Hancock song "Rockit". Producer Bill Laswell said "Ponce essentially was a musician/priest, and all the rhythms he would play on those batá drums were associated with a Yoruba deity. It was basically Santeria."[2]

After "Rockit" was a major hit in 1983, Ponce began recording under his own name, and soon after worked in jazz idioms with Laswell, Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Hilton Ruiz, and Bobby McFerrin. He also did work as a session musician and as a touring percussionist, for, among others, Laurie Anderson, Mick Jagger, and Yoko Ono.

He died on March 14, 2013, in Miami, Florida.[3]


  1. ^ Russ Girsberger, "Daniel Ponce". The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 2nd edition, ed. Barry Kernfeld.
  2. ^ Fernando, S. H., Jr. (April 20, 2015). "How Herbie Hancock Crafted a Hip-Hop Classic". Cuepoint. Medium.com. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  3. ^ https://rateyourmusic.com/artist/daniel_ponce