Pablo Sanhueza

Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017
Tagged As: latin, jazz

Pablo Sanhueza is many things: bandleader, Latin jazz percussionist, musical scholar, master and student. The Chilean-born musician is perhaps best known for leading the KC Salsa & Latin Jazz All Stars ensemble, but his musical imprint does not stop there.  He is a songwriter who has toured widely, sharing the stage with the likes of Poncho Sanchez, Titos Sompa, Dave Valentin and Bobby Watson. We are honored to share an interview with Sanhueza. Enjoy!


Introduce yourself. Where do you live and work?

My name is Pablo Sanhueza I've lived and worked as a musician in KC since 1996. In 1999, I moved to the west coast (Long Beach, California) to continue gathering musical and life experiences. In 2003, I returned to KC to organize the KC Salsa & Latin Jazz All-Stars, in partnership with the American Jazz Museum and also to attend the Jazz Studies program at UMKC.


Pablo Sanhueza & the KC Latin Jazz All-Stars @ KC Jazz & Heritage Festival 2017

Talk about your work with the Kansas City Salsa and Latin Jazz All-Stars. What was the nature of the collaboration with the American Jazz Museum?

The nature of our collaboration with AJM is mutual support, they provide us with dates at the Blue Room, GEM Theatre and many special events. In turn, my job as the bandleader is to provide a professional salsa & Latin jazz band with people from the culture in which this music stems from, and also to train local musicians in the inner-workings of Latin American music

How much original composing do you do for Makuza and KCSALJAS? What is that creative process like for you as bandleader?

To present original music is a priority in this band, we accomplish this goal by studying and performing classics, improvising, and writing original music based on these experiences. There is also a collaboration with the core band members who have made Latin music part of their musical vocabulary.


KC Latin Jazz All-Stars Descarga jam. April 4.27.17 Blue Room

As a musician and a student of Latin American and Caribbean music, you have toured widely around the globe. What have been some of your most memorable touring experiences?

The most memorable touring experiences have been touring with Bobby Watson across the United States and Europe; and most recently my research trip studying Afro Latin American music and dances in South America during 2014 (Chile, Peru, Bolivia).


What have been some musical highlights for you from this past year? What are you looking forward to in 2017?

During 2016 we played for cultural celebrations at the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kemper Museum, North Kansas City Museum, Mattie Rhodes Gallery (Day of the Dead), City of Kansas City Parks & Recreation events, etc 


During 2017 we plan on going back to play these events and also taking the band on a regional tour (Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado).


It is very exciting to be part of the Kansas City Jazz & Heritage Festival 2017 representing Latin American music and jazz, as well as to be part of the "Listen Local" feature.

Pablo Sanhueza's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:


Canto General (General Song) by Pablo Neruda. 

The Republic by Plato. 

Right now I am reading poets from my generation (Gen X) 

I dig David Foster Wallace's "Fate,Time and Language" and "Infinite Jest". 


My favorite movies: 

Werner Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" and "Aguirre the Wrath of God"

Harmony Korine's "Gummo" 1997

Raul Ruiz is a chilean avant-garde cinematographer that I admire profoundly in is effort to research the deep chilean identity and culture:. "Nadie Dijo Nada" 1971.

Reviewed by Bryan V.
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