By Adam Lovinus
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Everyday, hybrids full of bass players and vocal technicians carpool their way into the smoggy sprawl of Southern California armed with factory-made dreams and résumés emphasizing their typing skills. For every palm tree and well-hidden traffic camera, there are 20 unreasonably optimistic people looking to carve out their own piece of the rock. But for all those wide-eyed transplants, Southern California has nurtured some very great artists of its own, artists raised on the same waste-strewn beaches we call home.
Poncho Sanchez, omnipresent Latin jazz percussionist, has lived in Los Angeles nearly his entire life. Sanchez is certainly not the most famous local musician—in fact, he may not even be the most well-known local conguero (see Francisco Aguabella), but Sanchez is certainly the most bearded. Throw in a couple of equally hirsute band mates, and they've got themselves a hassle at airport security. Luckily, you won't need much more than a bus pass to see Sanchez and his band this weekend. On Sunday night, the charming Mr. Sanchez brings his thunderously rhythmic paws to Steamers Jazz Club, Fullerton's understated oasis of jazz.
In the past 24 years Sanchez has performed in virtually every room equipped with a PA system and at least five square feet of dance space within a 200-mile radius of Disneyland. As a Concord recording artist, he has released almost two dozen records ranging in style from hip-twisting funk à la James Brown to Cal Tjader-esque humid grooves. Expect a hopping band and some of the best Latin jazz Southern California has to offer. Not bad for a guy named after rain gear.
Poncho Sanchez at Steamers Jazz Club and Cafe, 138 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-8800; www.steamerscafe.com. Sun., 8 p.m. $13.