From Drum Magazine’s October 2017 Issue | Text And Transcriptions By Andy Ziker | Video By Brian Andres

Combine Antonio Sanchez’s years of study at such institutions as National Conservatory Of Music in Mexico City, Berklee College Of Music, and New England Conservatory Of Music, with a prolific series of high-profile gigs, and you see how he’s become one of the most complete musicians in drumming history. On Bad Hombre, Sanchez improvises over a sparse landscape of electronica, which is bound to capture the attention of drummers and non-drummers alike.

“Fire Trail Distant Glow”

At 5:16, this song transforms from free jazz abstraction to more of a Weather Report vibe, as Sanchez launches into a funky feel in 5. Slightly open hi-hat builds tension, while snare and bass drum provide an incredible amount of variation in just four measures.

“Bad Hombre Intro”

Regardless of your political leanings, you’ll be mesmerized by Sanchez’ slick sixteenth-note funk. Though “Intro” is rhythmically more straightforward than the other performances transcribed here, Sanchez dazzles us with articulations (buzz strokes and ghosted notes) and bass drum syncopation.


“Bad Hombre”

Thankfully, a repetitive bass line lets us know right away that we’re in 7, because at the beginning of the tune, Sanchez blurs the time by moving between duplets and triplets (and leaving a lot of space between notes). Then at 1:59, the groove settles in and Sanchez kicks it into a new gear. “Bad Hombre” features a barrage of high frequency sounds — including closed and open-hat, two different sets of cymbals stacks, and a Zildjian Swish Knocker (with 20 rivets) — three levels of snare dynamics, and sporadic but blistering sextuplet runs on the toms.

“9 Lives”

Sanchez roams playfully over a 9/8 keyboard ostinato by using only the limited textures of kick, snare, and hat. Double-time and triplet licks on the hi-hat create a mirage of multiple percussionists.

Read Drum Magazine’s November 2017 issue cover story about Antonio Sanchez:

Antonio Sanchez Talks About His New Album, ‘Bad Hombre’