Sylvia Cuenca, San Jose’s Impressive Drummer

Sylvia Cuenca is a powerhouse drummer from New York who has made a name for herself in the jazz drumming community.

Her powerful style, incredible skill, and drive to push the boundaries of her craft have earned her spots playing alongside some of the greatest jazz legends, including saxophone legend Joe Henderson and trumpet legend Clark Terry.

Her work has been featured on dozens of albums and in numerous live shows, making her one of the best female drummers today.

Read on to learn more about this drummer.

Who is Sylvia Cuenca?

Sylvia Cuenca With Her Quartet
Sylvia Cuenca with Her Quartet

Sylvia Cuenca is an American-Mexican drummer from San Jose, but she is pursuing her career in New York. She has become one of the best drummers contributing to the jazz world with her musicianship.

Cuenca has been recognized for being a longtime faculty member at the Jazz for Teens and Pre-Teen Program at NJPAC and the Stanford Jazz Workshop in California. She was also active in training aspiring drummers.

Her passion for teaching has allowed her to pass on her knowledge and enthusiasm to young people, especially women, making her an invaluable asset to the jazz community.

Sylvia Cuenca’s musical journey

Sylvia Cuenca has had a remarkable musical journey, starting from her hometown in San Jose and eventually landing in New York.

During her musical career, she has performed with esteemed guest artists like Joe Williams and been featured alongside jazz luminaries such as Ralph Moore, Victor Lewis, George Mraz, Keith Copeland, Jimmy Heath, and Lou Donaldson.

For four years, she was part of the renowned Joe Henderson Quartet, and for 17 years, she was a member of the Clark Terry Quintet & Big Band.

Cuenca looks up to Terri Lyne Carrington as her female role model and cites Philly Joe Jones and Max Roach as key influences.

Despite all the acclaim she’s already achieved, her career continues to go from strength to strength with frequent tours and concerts featuring some of the most iconic musicians in jazz music today.


Sylvia Cuenca - The Crossing Album
Sylvia Cuenca – The Crossing Album

Sylvia Cuenca has released two albums under her name, Exit 13 (2004) and The Crossing (2006). Both albums mix classic jazz, Latin Jazz, and Brazilian Rhythms.

Exit 13 features nine songs, while The Crossing contains seven songs. Both albums have received critical acclaim from the jazz community, with The Crossing being appreciated by many music fans and critics.


Sylvia Cuenca Quintet’s Performance

Sylvia Cuenca’s discography is filled with various jazz standards and originals which she has composed. Her 2004 album, Exit 13, contains nine tracks, including Big Ed and Minor League.

This was followed by her 2006 album The Crossing, which features seven songs, including the titular track, as well as a handful of covers.

With such an outstanding discography filled with timeless classics and modern jazz classics, Sylvia Cuenca is sure to please jazz fans of all ages.


As one of the most respected and acclaimed drummers in the contemporary jazz scene, Sylvia Cuenca has left a lasting impression on fans around the globe.

With two groundbreaking albums under her name and countless collaborations with other artists, she is a force to be reckoned with. Whether you’re listening to classics like Exit 13 or funky originals like Hate On Me, it’s easy to see why Sylvia Cuenca is considered by many to be an absolute powerhouse of a musician.

What do you think?

Avatar Of Andrea

Written by Andrea

Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.

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