The Recording Academy played host to GRAMMYs On The Road at the Detroit Jazz Festival on Aug. 31 – Sept. 3 in downtown Detroit. GRAMMY.com conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including GRAMMY-nominated saxist Donny McCaslin and Latin GRAMMY-nominated and GRAMMY-winning percussionist Poncho Sánchez.
McCaslin discussed his early introduction to jazz, performing with vibraphonist Gary Burton's band and advice for aspiring musicians, among other topics.
"I remember looking in the bell of the saxophone one time, and there was a pool of condensation and a cigarette butt floating in the middle of it," said McCaslin. "I was 10 or something, and somehow I thought that was cool. It made some impression on me."
A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, McCaslin has performed as part of several bands, including Burton's jazz quintet and the experimental jazz collective Lan Xang. He released his debut solo album, Exile And Discovery, in 1998. He earned his first GRAMMY nomination in 2004 for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for "Bulería, Soleá Y Rumba." His forthcoming release, Casting For Gravity, is due Oct. 2 and features McCaslin exploring electronica influences.
Sánchez discussed being nominated for a Latin GRAMMY and a GRAMMY, his most recent album, Chano Y Dizzy! and plans for the future, among other topics.
"I'd like to do a recording of Poncho Sánchez Latin Jazz Band with a symphony orchestra. I'm looking to do that soon," said Sánchez.
One of the most influential conga players and percussionists in Afro-Cuban jazz history, this year Sánchez will be honored with a Latin Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony in Las Vegas on Nov. 14. His first GRAMMY came in 1999 for Best Latin Jazz Performance for Latin Soul. Sánchez's most recent GRAMMY nomination came in 2010 for Best Latin Jazz Album for Psychedelic Blues. Sánchez has earned two Latin GRAMMY nominations for Best Latin Jazz Album for Poncho At Montreux and Psychedelic Blues in 2005 and 2010, respectively. His most recent release is 2011's Chano Y Dizzy!, a collaboration with GRAMMY-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard.
In addition to artist interviews, The Recording Academy also presented GRAMMY SoundTables featuring Detroit Jazz Festival performers discussing their music and careers. Participants included GRAMMY winners Blanchard, Gary Burton and Joe Lovano.
Come back Monday for more GRAMMYs On The Road at Detroit Jazz Festival coverage.