John Santos


Produced and Directed by
Kathryn Golden & Ashley James


A new film about the extraordinary Latin musician, educator and “keeper of the Afro-Caribbean flame,” John Santos.

Santos is an urban legend. He debuted in his grandfather’s orchestra at the age of 11 and was immersed in the social upheaval that defined the SF Bay Area in the 1960s & 70s. He’s played with Carlos Santana, Pete Escoveto, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie and had his own successful group, Machete, for over 20 years.  A five-time Grammy nominee and on the Smithsonian Institution’s Latin Jazz Committee. He is recognized as one of the country’s leading proponents of Afro-Caribbean music and appeared in several critically-acclaimed films about Latin culture.

Yet there has never been a film about him. JOHN SANTOS will rectify this, explore race, culture, migration and how these elements have helped make the Bay Area as one of the most diverse and culturally significant regions in the U.S. 

“Santos is respected as one of the top writers, teachers and historians of Latin Jazz. An expert of Afro-Latino music, he is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music.”

Newsdesk – Smithsonian Institution

“…a spark plug for a wave of musical invention… A vortex where Jazz, Latin and other ideas meet. He’s spent a goodly amount of time considering the cultural, historical, spiritual and, of course, musical origins of Latin jazz, honoring its creators and traditions and linking the then to the now.”

Jazz Times

“The Latin Music Renaissance man”

Jesse Hamlin – San Francisco Chronicle

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