Bio & Accomplishments

Pablo Sanhueza has been deemed as “Kansas City’s Heart & Soul of Latin Music” by JAM Magazine, and recognized as the region’s premier Salsa & Latin Jazz percussionist and bandleader.  Since his arrival to Kansas City from Santiago, Chile in 1996 Pablo has dedicated the past 25 years of his distinguished career to the music of the Latin American experience, as a percussionist, bandleader, and teaching artist who has worked with three generations of musicians  and the Historic 18th & Vine jazz district. 

As a performer, Sanhueza brings the charisma and precision of the Maestros of the Mambo and Big Band era. In 2019 Sanhueza presented his apprentice musicians and veteran collaboration project to an audience reach of nearly 40,000—hosting the longest running salsa & latin jazz nights in the Midwest at the Blue Room.

Sanhueza studied with Jesus Alfonso, Sandy Perez, (Muñequitos de matanzas), and has shared the stage with Poncho Sanchez, David Valentin, Titos Sompa, and toured Europe appearing at Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Red Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and Champs Elysees Paris, France with Bobby Watson.

In 2014, Sanhueza spent an immersion year in South America, studying Afro-Chilean & Afro-Andino folkloric music and dances. Since 2014 Sanhueza has returned multiple times to continue this artistic exchange with the musicians at the front line of this ongoing research and exchange through jazz and folk workshops and concerts across Chile & the United States.

In 2018, Sanhueza co-founded the Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra.  KCLJO is the first performance & education non-profit in the Midwestern United States dedicated to Salsa, Latin Jazz, and the intersection of Latin American folkloric dance. KCLJO is an intercultural, intergenerational organization, bringing transnational experiences to the stage, the dance floor, and diverse communities.

Representing latino leadership in the arts Sanhueza is a Missouri Arts Council Touring Artist and Missouri Humanities Council Speakers Bureau Member. In 2019, Sanhueza welcomed Pedrito Martinez to Kansas City for the historic Folly Jazz Series & Artist Talk. Sanhueza & KCLJO are endorsed by the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz for cultural & education outreach in Chile and the Midwestern United States. Sanhueza is a master artist for the Missouri Traditional Arts Apprentice program and will be the featured presenter at the Missouri Bi-Centennial Celebration in August 2021.  In 2021, Sanhueza’s Orchestra received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to support a commission and collaboration with NEA Jazz Master, pianist, composer, bandleader Maestro Eddie Palmieri.

Through these accomplishments and community involvement Sanhueza continues to distinguish himself as one of the foremost exponents of Latin American and Caribbean music across the Midwest and Southwest United States.

Pablo sees himself as a village musician whose presence and impact in the community is experienced through live performance and perpetuated through relationship building with the youth and local institutions. He is based in Kansas City and Las Vegas.


American Corners Arica, Chile Jazz Appreciation Month May 2021 (Spanish)

Local Community Arts Are Getting Creative, KCLJO January 2021

ST. Louis Public Radio: Afro-Latin Music’s Foray Into the Midwest

KCUR Central Standard: Cuban and Afro-Latino Influence in Kansas City Culture

KKFI ArtSpeak: October Extravaganza

JAM Magazine November 2018

KC STUDIO Magazine October 2018