Five-time Grammy Award winner Antonio Sanchez is considered by many critics and musicians alike as one of the most prominent drummers, bandleaders and composers of his generation.
Born in Mexico City on November 1st, 1971, he started playing drums at the age of 5 and began performing professionally early in his teens.
Antonio pursued a degree in classical piano at the National Conservatory in Mexico and in 1993 he moved to Boston to enroll at Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in Jazz Studies.
Since his move to New York City in 1999 Antonio has become one of the most sought after drummers in the international jazz scene. His playing is featured in over a hundred albums and has performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in jazz including Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Charlie Haden, Gary Burton and Toots Thielmans.
He has been the drummer of choice for 20-time Grammy winner Pat Metheny and has been part of virtually every project the famed guitarist has put together since 2000. They’ve recorded 8 albums together and 3 of them have been awarded the Grammy.
He regularly collaborates with some of the today’s most prominent jazz musicians such as Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, David Sanchez, Paquito D'Rivera, Kenny Werner, Marcus Roberts, Avishai Cohen, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Miguel Zenon, Scott Colley, Dave Samuels, Luciana Souza, Billy Childs, and Claudia Acuña just to name a few.
Antonio’s continuous search as an artist has pushed him to compose and lead his own bands and ensembles. He has released 3 critically acclaimed albums under his name. His first one, “Migration” was called “one of the best new releases of 2007” by All About Jazz and features a star studded cast which includes Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Chris Potter, David Sanchez and Scott Colley. His second solo effort “Live in New York” was recorded during a 4 day run at the prestigious Jazz Standard in New York City and features saxophone greats David Sanchezand Miguel Zenon as well as bassist Scott Colley.
Antonio’s 2013 album “New Life” was made entirely of his own compositions and was widely received by critics all over the world. It was the winner of the prestigious German Echo Jazz Award in 2014. Downbeat Magazine said: “New Life is that rare combination of great composing, great players and great musicianship”.
2015 saw the release of two very distinct projects that were very important milestones in Sanchez’s solo career: “Three Times Three”, a double album which features three stellar trios: Brad Mehldau and Matt Brewer, John Scofield and Christian McBride and last but not least Joe Lovano and John Patitucci. This record includes six original compositions and three standards arranged by Antonio.
The second 2015 release was Migration, his working band since 2011 which features Seamus Blake on saxophone, John Escreet on piano and Matt Brewer on bass. This album features a 45-minute suite written by Sanchez especially for this project as well as other original material.
His writing is also featured on two of Gary Burton’s 2011 releases of “Common Ground” and “Guided Tour”. The albums include four of Antonio’s original compositions and the earlier album was named after his tune of the same name.
In January 2013 Antonio was invited by acclaimed filmmaker Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel, Biutiful) to create the original film score for his 2015 critically acclaimed film “Birdman” (Fox Searchlight) featuring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Emma Thompson. “Birdman”heavily featured Sanchez’s drumming as the main musical ingredient in Iñarritu’s film. Antonio won several awards for his score including World Sound Tracks Awards Best Original Soundtrack of the Year, Broadcast Film Critics’Award for Best Score and was nominated for a BAFTA, Grammy and Golden Globe.
Antonio's interest in education has taken him around the globe performing clinics, drum festivals and master classes. Some of these festivals include the "Modern Drummer Festival Weekend", "Zildjian Day" and the "Montreal Drum Festival" among many others.He has also been the featured cover artist in some of the most widely read drum magazines in the industry like "Modern Drummer" (USA and Brazil),“Percussioni”, “Jazzit” and “Drumset” (Italy), "Drums and Percussion" (Germany) "Musico Pro" (USA). He won the Modern Drummer Reader’s Poll for Best Jazz Drummer in 2013 and has been a top contender since the early 2000’s. He’s also been among the top ranked drummers on Downbeat’s critic’s and reader’s polls since 2004. He's endorsed by Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals and Sticks (Antonio Sanchez Signature model), Remo Drumheads and LP Percussion.
He's made New York City his home since 1999.
Currently, Antonio is working on the independent feature, Harami, directed and written by Shyam Madiraju.