37. Santana

Santana is a rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1966 by “happy accident” when the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was unable to perform a Sunday concert at Fillmore West. Concert promoter Bill Graham assembled an impromptu band to fill the slot. The jam session was a success, as Graham and the audience took notice of the band, especially the fine young guitarist Carlos Santana. In 1967, the group was officially formed as the Carlos Santana Blues Band, with Santana as leader because paperwork dictated that a leader be selected. After achieving popularity as a regular feature at San Francisco clubs, Santana signed with Columbia Records. The band’s first attempt at a record album prompted three key additions to the band: Micheal Shrieve, Mike Carbello and Chepito Areas. The first album was then released in August 1969. The band’s big break also came in August, 1969, when they performed at the Woodstock Music Festival, the publicity they needed. The first album was a great success, and the band led by Carlos Santana has enjoyed worldwide popularity since. The original lineup only remained intact for four albums, the core of any Santana collection. Since then, the band has performed quality, jazz inflected Latin rock music, with the great guitarist providing many of the instrumental fireworks. Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998.


Wikipedia Biography of Santana

Notable Band Members:

Carlos Santana (b. 1947)
, guitar, vocals
Gregg Rolie (b. 1947), organ, lead vocals
David Brown (1950-2000), bass
Michael Shrieve (b. 1949), drums, percussion
Jose “Chepito” Areas (b. 1946), timbales, percussion
Michael Carabello (b. 1947), conga, percussion

Neil Schon (b. 1954), guitar
Tom Coster (b. 1941), keyboards

Each of these eight men made significant songwriting contributions. Over the years, dozens of performers have played for Santana.

New York City

“Few musicians have had a more profound influence on me personally. I grew up with “pure” Latin Music and am a musician myself. You can find my recorded music on iTunes “El Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino”. We created two recordings “Concepts in Unity” in 1975 and “Lo Dice Todo” in 1977. I played Congas and Shekere and did background vocals. I will tell you the story of how the band came to be. Much earlier, I was a child of the sixties and loved Soul, Motown, Blues, Reggae, Jazz, Funk and Rock & Roll. Huge influences were James Brown for his messages of self reliance and self respect. Dizzy Gillespie I met in college when he came into WYBC while I was doing my Latin Jazz show on the Yale radio station. He did a free promo. My band in college was a Latin jazz band. It was a trio and included Nat Adderly, Jr., son of Nat Adderly and nephew of Cannonball Adderly. My first band was a dreadful syncretic tribute to Santana, we called ourselves “Pracazoid”. I was 13 years old. I learned to play guitar so that I could play “Samba Pa Ti”, still one of the most evocative songs I’ve ever heard. Santana was a symbol to me of the ethnic melting pot that I grew up in and loved. Where there was genuine respect for multi cultural experiences. How did we move away from the promise of the mid sixties to mid seventies and slide backwards toward intolerance and bigotry? Santana will always symbolize for me that promise of the human spirit where we cherish that which makes us culturally unique while we readily accept and also cherish the cultural roots of others, as expressed by that deepest residue of culture, the power of music. I so vividly remember my best friend and I staying up all night as he introduced me to Pink Floyd, Procol Harem and Grand Funk Railroad. And I introduced him to Eddie Palmieri, Willie Colon and Ray Barretto. Santana was the music that blended our tastes and musical roots in perfect harmony. We started Pracazoid that night. I got to see Carlos Santana in the amphitheater in Atlanta. It was a magical moment of remembrance of a special friendship. The band broke up when I was 17 and my friend died of a drug overdose the same week that my other best friend came back from Vietnam in a body bag. Powerful emotions.”

— David Guzman

[Note: If you are interested, try “Anabacoa” or “Cinco En Un Callejero” by El Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino.]

Palo Alto

In the sixties, my parents attended numerous rock shows in San Francisco, but I don’t think they ever saw the Santana Blues Band. Our introduction to Santana was the Woodstock movie. Mom bought the first four Santana albums, and I still have them. The band evolved rapidly; the fourth album, Caranvanserai in 1972, is challenging and complex, highly influenced by free form jazz, and far from the hard rocking elements of the eponymous debut in 1969. Disagreements over the band’s musical direction between Carlos Santana and Gregg Rolie always existed, and after Caravanserai, Rolie and second guitarist Neil Schon left to form Journey. It’s easy to hear the Santana influence in the first two Journey albums; after that, they added vocalist Steve Perry and transformed themselves into a popular rock band with several major hit singles.

Since 1972, Santana has maintained his small orchestra with a rotating cast of characters. He searches for new singers and songs to perform with, continues to create new music, and has a large legacy of recordings. Once again, the first four records are the starting point for a Santana collection; the albums Supernatural and Blues For Salvador are considered excellent as well. My personal interest in Santana lasted until the early eighties, and I purchased several of their lesser known works of the seventies, like Amigos, Carnaval and Moonflower. These are all first class productions with quality musicianship.

“Carlos Santana was originally in his own wing of the Latin Rock Hall of Fame, neither playing Afro-Cuban with rock guitar, as did Malo, nor flavouring mainstream rock with percussion, as did Chicago.”

— From the “All Music Guide” review of the first album

Amazon.com Link to the “All Music Guide To Rock”, by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra and Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Santana was essential to my musical education, my introduction to Latin rhythms. But “Latin rhythms” simplifies the unique hybrid of influences. Santana’s presence as a dominant soloist separates the music from virtually all other “Latin” bands.

“It’s a complete racial/musical collision, too: a Mexican-American guitar player steeped in the salsa of the Eastern Caribbean playing a black blues song written by a British/Jewish guitarist turned fundamentalist Christian.”

— From Dave Marsh’s essay on “Black Magic Woman” in his book The Heat of Rock & Soul

Amazon.com Link to “The Heart of Rock & Soul”

Abraxas is arguably the best album, and Caravanserai the most inventive, but my favorite album is the first one, Santana. It features the great guitarist soloing in short bursts, and driving the music by strumming rhythm. He’s a fantastic rhythm guitar player, and this is the last time you hear him consistently pushing the rhythm before he concentrates on riffs and soloes. The first album also has my favorite passage of music, the three song series “Shades Of Time/Savor/Jingo”. I rarely choose full sequences of songs as a single integrated piece, but this is the best example that features the entire band in their full, original glory. That’s when Santana moves me most. He’s such a dominant presence, but here he simmers in the background, except for a few powerful statements. I’ve always loved “Jingo”.

Santana Song Notes:

1. “Toussaint L’Overture (Live)” is found on the legacy edition of Abraxas.

2. “Jingo (Live)”, “Treat (Live)” and “As The Years Go Passing By (Live)” are found on Live At Fillmore 1968.

3. “Savor (Live)”, “Soul Sacrifice (Live)” and “Soul Sacrifice (Take 4)” are found on the legacy edition of Santana. “Soul Sacrifice (Live)” was recorded at the Woodstock Music Festival.

4. Willie Bobo may have had the most influence on early Santana recordings. Willie Bobo’s Finest Hour is highly recommended.

Santana Songs:

Samba Pa Ti, Santana ★★★★
Shades Of Time, Santana ★★★★
Savor, Santana ★★★★
Jingo, Santana ★★★★
Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen, Santana ★★★★

Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile), Santana ★★★
Evil Ways, Santana ★★★
Song Of The Wind, Santana ★★★
Waves Within, Santana ★★★
Oye Como Va, Santana ★★★
Incident At Neshabur, Santana ★★★
Everything’s Coming Our Way, Santana ★★★
Treat, Santana ★★★
No One To Depend On, Santana ★★★

Soul Sacrifice (Take 4), Santana ★★
Soul Sacrifice, Santana ★★
Soul Sacrifice (Live), Santana ★★
Toussaint L’Overture (Live), Santana ★★
Singing Winds, Crying Beasts, Santana ★★
Dance Sister Dance (Baila Mi Hermana), Santana ★★
Just In Time To See The Sun, Santana ★★
Stone Flower, Santana ★★
Let The Children Play, Santana ★★
Treat (Live), Santana ★★
As The Years Go Passing By (Live), Santana ★★
Everybody’s Everything, Santana ★★
Guajira, Santana ★★

Se A Cabo, Santana
Mother’s Daughter, Santana
Hope You’re Feeling Better, Santana
El Nicoya, Santana
Trane, Santana
Mirage, Santana
Eternal Caravan Of Reincarnation, Santana
Look Up (To See What’s Coming Down), Santana
Future Primitive, Santana
Carnaval, Santana
Jugando, Santana
Verao Vermelho, Santana
Jingo (Live), Santana
Dawn/Go Within, Santana
You Just Don’t Care, Santana
Savor (Live), Santana
Soul Sacrifice (Live), Santana
Fried Neckbones (Live), Santana
Batuka, Santana
Jungle Strut, Santana
The Game Of Love, Santana
Smooth, Santana
El Farol, Santana

Related Songs:

Naima, Carlos Santana & John McLaughlin ★★
Naima (Take 4), Carlos Santana & John McLaughlin ★★
Meditation, Carlos Santana & John McLaughlin

Gypsy Queen, Gabor Szabo ★★★

Fried Neckbones And Some Home Fries, Willie Bobo ★★★
Spanish Grease, Willie Bobo ★★
Evil Ways, Willie Bobo ★★

Stone Flower, Antonio Carlos Jobim ★★

Black Magic Woman, Fleetwood Mac ★★★★

Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile), Gato Barbieri ★★

As The Years Go Passing By, Fenton Robinson ★★★
As The Years Go Passing By, Albert King ★★★
As The Years Go Passing By (Live), Boz Scaggs ★★★★

Guantanamera (Live), Pete Seeger ★★
Guantanamera, Los Lobos ★★★

Oye Como Va (Live), Tito Puente ★★

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