I put the following interview together after meeting with Charles and receiving a copy of an interview Jan Dalske of Sacramento Bee did with him, from Charles.
Charles Sano , a former New Yorker, has served in United States US Air Force overseas. He came to California in 1956. He created and pioneered a genre called Latin Jazz-Vocals , this last sixty years. He has also been a resident of West Sacramento for the last forty years. His latin Jazz music is on the internet that has become famous worldwide. In 2020, he retired from his music, leaving a legacy for years to come. He now spends his time as an activist for Puerto Rico Statehood to become our next State of the Union. Sano has been active with purpose, now at the age of 88 years old.
Charles’s parents were both from Puerto Rico. His mom was from Mayaguez (The eighth-largest municipality of Puerto Rico) and his dad was from San Juan. He has 4 daughters and a son. It surprised me that even though his children were born in California, except his son, all others live in Wyoming and South Dakota.
Charles’s first job was with Columbia Broadcasting Systems. In 1953 he moved to Richfield Oil Corporation to work as a computer programmer. He is a great chef and worked in Sacramento as a chef for many years and he has been in his place in West Sacramento since 1999.
“I was the #1 pop singer in Los Angeles’s Sunset Strip between 1956-1959. I was discovered by Vic Rene, A&R who caught me singing at Interlude Night club. He asked me to come and join his group, “Letterman Group” but it didn’t work out since I didn’t have a group. I was a solo singer”
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
Charles has 4 daughters and a son. All grown up and got families of their own.
Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
Vince (Italian food) on Harbor and a great Chinese place on Merkley which closed a couple of years ago.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
Forty years on West Sacramento.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
Tom Lewis, member of Historical Society of West Sacramento. Also Mickey Fausett and Jimmy Brewer, former president of the same organization.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
“Puerto Rico. It’s my roots”.
Q: What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
West Side Story. “I actually auditioned for it but I was too white and they didn’t take me as a Puerto Rican. They overlooked my talent. ”
Q: What advice would you give to people?
If you got a dream, pursue it.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
Live in peace. Relax. I’ve done everything on my pursuits and dreams list.
Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?
Frank Sinatra and Tito Puente. Tito was my best friend for 40 years and I wrote a song about him.
Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
Used to be the Chinese restaurant where I went there once a week with my girlfriend. . But they closed down.
Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
Tom Lewis, Mickey and Jimmy. We would go to Vince’s on Harbor.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
Same place I live at now.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I’m patient, healthy, never smoked or did drugs. I do drink wine once in a while. (Particularly with Italian Food)
Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
Mayaguez in Puerto Rico. It’s a pretty city.
Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? and best single day on the calendar?
Christmas. Everyone loves Christmas.
Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
Having a place to reside peacefully.
Q: Who inspires you to be better?
Mother, Tito Puente who died in 2000.
Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
Flowers, Apple Pie with cinnamon.
Q: What is one business you would like to have in West Sacramento? (which we don’t have one already)
Small Italian Cafe. I wanted to start one when I first came to West Sacramento
Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Home Sweet Home.