Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

SANTANA, Carlos

(b 20 July '47, Autlan de Novarra, Mexico) Guitarist who formed an eponymous Latin/rock group. To San Francisco '62 with his father, a mariachi musician; emerged during SF's musical heyday; first recorded jamming onstage in Live Adventures Of Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper '69; that year the Santana Bluesband incl. David Brown, bass; Gregg Rolie, organ and vocals; Marcus Malone, Mike Carabello and Jose 'Chepito' Areas, percussion. Mike Shrieve replaced imprisoned Malone on debut LP Santana '69, dropping Bluesband suffix, concentrating on Afro-Cuban rhythms allied to Carlos's sweet, flowing rock guitar; no. 4 LP incl. 'Soul Sacrifice' (played at Woodstock). Abraxas '70 incl. instrumental tour-de-force 'Samba Pa Ti' (top 30 hit single in UK) plus guitar-laced version of Peter Green's 'Black Magic Woman', already a hit in UK by Fleetwood Mac but US no. 4 by Santana. These were his most enduring work, and spawned further US singles in top ten 'Evil Ways' and Tito Puente's 'Oye Como Va' (no. 13). Percussion (placed left--right in stereo image) and leader's guitar were highlights; vocals less important, often merely chants. Santana III '71 incl. no. 12 'Everybody's Everything', with Caravanserai '72 added second guitarist Neal Schon, Coke Escovedo on percussion, but by the time of the latter, showing a jazz-rock fusion that watered down their original appeal, the band had split. Santana became Devadip, disciple of guru Sri Chinmoy; reformed group around Shrieve and Areas; personnel fluctuated; Welcome '73 introduced vocalist Leon Thomas (see Pharoah Sanders); Borboletta '74 was top 20 LP but Amigos '76 returned to top ten with percussive Latin-rock format. He recorded live jamming with Buddy Miles '72, again in studio with John McLaughlin (fellow Chinmoy disciple) in appallingly self-indulgent Love Devotion And Surrender '73; Illuminations '74 with Alice Coltrane. Band's Festival '77 was top 30; live two-disc Moonflower '77 top ten again (incl. poppy hit cover of Zombies' 'She's Not There'); by this time Rolie and Schon had formed successful Journey, Shrieve formed Automatic Man. Santana continued to tour and record; Inner Secrets and Marathon '78--9 were a disco phase; Zebop! '81 returned to top ten with the tested formula and top 20 single 'Winning', Shango ('Monkey') '82 top 25 with no. 15 'Hold On'; Beyond Appearances '85 reached no. 50, followed by Freedom '87. His solo albums incl. Oneness/Silver Dreams -- Golden Reality '79, The Swing Of Delight '80 with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter; Havana Moon '83 with Willie Nelson, Booker T, Fabulous Thunderbirds; Blues For Salvador '87. His influence was permanent, best albums still selling and new ones still charting: three-disc set Viva Santana (two CDs) compiled live recordings '69--87; Spirits Dancing In The Flesh '90 and two- disc Lotus were the last on Columbia; Milagro (Miracle) '92 and Sacred Fire -- Live In South America were on Polydor.