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Santana, Carlos

Carlos Santana

Guitarist

Began Playing Nightclubs at Age Eleven

Achieved Success with Santana

Returned to Latin Rock Sound

Made Huge Comeback with Supernatural

Selected discography

Sources

In the late 1960s, when acid rock reigned and the British Invasion was still raging, Carlos Santana and his band introduced the music scene to a new Latin-based rock sound featuring an Afro-Cuban beat. This would effectively usher in the concept of “world music” years before the description would catch up with the style. After soaring in popularity and becoming one of the biggest acts of the day, the group went through various personnel changes, but they continued to make music together even as Santana, finding new spiritual and musical paths, began to record jazz fusion on his own with many other top names. Though his rock records continued to sell vigorously, he would not have a radio hit after 1982.

Then, in 1999, Santana became one of the most often-heard performers on the airwaves. He teamed up with some of the hottest young acts of the day, including Lauryn Hill, Dave Matthews, Everlast, and Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, along with the legendary Eric Clapton, to produce a work that harkened back to his early Latin sounds, but with a contemporary slant. With an irresistible hook and Thomas’s cool vocals, the single “Smooth” began racing up the charts, and the album, Supernatural, sold an astonishing 14 million units. The project overall won a phenomenal total of eight Grammy Awards, tying Michael Jackson’s 1983 record for most Grammys won on a single night. Some wondered if his comeback could be attributed to the sudden boom in Latin music beginning in the late 1990s that helped create the popularity of artists such as Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, and others. Santana, however, credits a force more high-minded than a fad or marketing appeal. “It’s not really chance or luck,” he remarked to Jeff Gordinier in Entertainment Weekly.“It’s something more paranormal like divine synchronicity.”

Santana was born to Jose and Josefina Santana on July 20, 1947, in Autlan de Navarro, a small village in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. His father, a traditional violinist who played mariachi music, exposed him to the basics of music theory when he was five years old and tried to teach him violin. “My father’s a musician, his father was a musician, my great-grandfather was a musician,” he told James Schaffer in Down Beat.San-tana added, “Dad taught me the violin for almost seven years, and I could never get anything out of it. I always sounded like Jack Benny no matter how hard I tried. Only Jack Benny could really play, but I sounded like Jack Benny when he was fooling around.”

Began Playing Nightclubs at Age Eleven

More interested in rock ’n’ roll than the mariachi sounds anyway, Santana began to learn the guitar at age eight, imitating the style of greats such as B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, and T-Bone Walker. However, he still credits his father with teaching him to appreciate music in general. After the family of 12 moved to the border

For the Record…

Born on July 20, 1947, in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico; son of Jose (a traditional violinist) and Josefina Santana; adapted religious name Devadip (means “the light of the lamp of the Supreme”), 1973; married Deborah Sara King, 1973; children: Salvador, Stella, Angelica.

Began performing in Tijuana, Mexico, 1961; lead guitarist of group Santana (founded as Santana Blues Band in San Francisco, CA), 1966; recording artist with Columbia/CBS, 1969-91; recording artist with Polydor, 1991; founded Guts and Grace record label, 1994; appeared at Fillmore West, 1968, Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, 1969, Altamont Festival, 1969, California Jamil, 1978, LiveAid, 1985, first Amnesty International concert tour, 1986, Woodstock ’94, 1994; released album Supernatural, which won eight Grammy Awards, 1999; released Shaman, 2002.

Awards: Latin New York Music Awards, Latin Rock Band of the Year, 1975; Bay Area Music Award (Bammy Award), Best Guitarist, 1976-77, 1980-81, 1994-95; Bammy Award, Best Album for Moonflower, 1977; Bammy Award, Best Group, 1980; Grammy Award, Best Rock Instrumental Performance for Blues for Salvador, 1988; Bammy Award, Musician of the Year, 1978, 1988, 1993; Billboard Century Award for distinguished creative achievement, 1996; received star on Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame, 1996; induction, Bay Area Music Awards Walk of Fame, 1997; Chicano Lifetime Achievement Award, 1997; Nosotros’ Golden Eagle Legend in Music Award, 1997; induction, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1998; National Council of La Raza, Alma Award, 1999; Grammy Awards, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, Best Pop Instrumental Performance, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Best Rock Instrumental Performance, 2000, Best Pop Collaboration, 2003.

Addresses: Publicist—Jensen Communications, Inc., 230 East Union St., Pasadena, CA 91101. Website—Santana Official Website: http://www.santana.com.

town of Tijuana in 1955, he began playing in nightclubs along the strip there when he was just eleven years old.

Around the early 1960s, Santana’s family moved to San Francisco, California, but he soon ran away to return to Tijuana and play the circuit again. His older brother came to retrieve him, though, and he ended up in San Francisco with the rest of his family, where he went to Mission High School and learned English. There he also discovered a thriving cultural scene with a diversity of musical styles, including jazz, blues, international folk music, and classical salsa by the likes of Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri.

While working full-time as a dishwasher in a restaurant, Santana continued to play music, performing on the street for change in the evenings and jamming with others to try to get a band together. With mentoring from Jerry Garcia of the successful hippie group the Grateful Dead, he quit his job. Joining with bassist David Brown and keyboard player Gregg Rolie, he formed the Santana Blues Band, eventually abbreviating the name to simply Santana.

In the thriving scene of the San Francisco area in the 1960s, new bands were sprouting up all the time, so it was not easy to get noticed. For three years, Santana played small clubs around town, particularly in the Mission District, a predominantly Hispanic area. Before long, though, promoter Bill Graham noticed their unique sound and began to book them at his Fillmore West and Winterland clubs. Blending an Afro-Cuban beat with a fast-tempo rock and blues base and low-key vocals, Santana created the new style of Latin Rock.

Achieved Success with Santana

Although they were approached by several record companies in the late 1960s, the band declined a contract. Therefore, when they played for half a million people at the legendary Woodstock festival in 1969, they did not even have an album out. There, they performed a piece titled “Soul Sacrifice,” written specifically for the event. By now Santana included drummer Mike Shrieve and percussionists Jose Chepito Areas and Mike Carrabello. After getting a warm reception at Woodstock, they were booked on the popular Ed Sullivan Show, then signed to Columbia Records by the end of the year. Their first effort, Santana, stayed on the Billboard charts for two years, eventually selling more than four million copies. It spawned the hits “Evil Ways” and “Jingo.”

The next year, 1970, Santana continued to ride a wave of success, releasing its second hit album, Abraxas. This featured the classic rock staples “Oye Como Va” (written by Tito Puente) and “Black Magic Woman” (penned by Peter Green), and went platinum in sales. In 1971, the group had a gold album with Santana III, and in 1972 it saw platinum again with Caravanserai. Meanwhile, Santana became more fond of jazz, and recorded his first effort without the rest of the band in 1972, pairing up with Buddy Miles. The band also began to experience a shift in members, as musicians came and went from the group. Guitarist Neal Schon had joined in 1971 and later left, along with original member Rolie, to form Journey. Eventually, Santana was the only initial member who remained.

After the much-publicized drug-related deaths of several prominent musicians in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison, Santana began to reassess his lifestyle. He had skyrocketed to fame in a short time, like the others, and found himself indulging in the familiar trappings of a rock star, including excesses of drugs and casual sex. Finding a religious path, he became a devoted follower of Sri Chimnoy, a spiritual guru and proponent of meditation. In August of 1973, he changed his name to Devadip (meaning “the light of the lamp of the Supreme”) Carlos Santana. In April of that year, he married Deborah Sara King, founder of a health food shop in San Francisco and daughter of a guitarist known for his work with blues singer Billie Holiday. The couple has three children, Salvador, Stella, and Angelica.

Through his association with Sri Chimnoy, Santana got to know guitarist Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. Together they created a spiritual jazz-fusion album, Love, Devotion, and Surrender, released in 1973. Throughout the 1970s, Santana would release four more albums with spiritual themes, recording without his band but in collaboration with others such as Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter.

Returned to Latin Rock Sound

By the mid-1970s, Santana began to drift back toward his Latin rock sound. Promoter Graham took over as his manager in 1975, and he began to record again with the group, even though Santana himself found more meaning in his spiritual efforts. Despite the fact that all of the group’s works continued to hit either gold or platinum, they did not have another top-ten hit until 1976’s Amigos. After that, CBS records re-signed San-tana to a seven-album contract.

During the 1980s, Santana and the band recorded less frequently, only putting out five albums throughout the decade. However, they toured prolifically, selling out stadiums and appearing at high-profile events like LiveAid, the US Festival, and on the first Amnesty International concert tour. He also helped organize the “Blues for Salvador” concert in Oakland, California, in 1988, which benefitted children in El Salvador. That year, he won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “Blues for Salvador.” 1988 was especially active as he toured with saxophonist Wayne Shorter and also embarked on a tour with the original Santana band members Rolie, Areas, and Shrieve, who had not played together since the early 1970s. In addition, in 1988 he released a 30-song retrospective album which featured previous hits as well as unre-leased studio tracks, live cuts, and sound checks.

Back in 1982, Santana discontinued his association with Sri Chimnoy, and he and his wife converted to Christianity in the early 1990s. In 1992, ending his lengthy association with Columbia, Santana signed a deal with Polydor Records which included forming his own label, called Guts & Grace. John Swenson in Rolling Stone called Santana’s first effort for this label, Milagro, “one of the finest sessions he’s done,” and added, ’The album reaffirms Santana’s position as the standard-bearer for fusion music.” In 1993, he toured with folk icon Bob Dylan, and in 1996, he toured with guitar great Jeff Beck. Though Santana still sold seats, he noticed that radio stations no longer played any of his music besides his early hits, and the media was not paying him much attention. He received a star on the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame in 1996, but it would take him until 1998 to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Therefore, by the late 1990s, Santana was looking for a comeback. He explained to Andy Ellis in Guitar Player that in his meditation and dreams, he had received instructions telling him the following: “We want you to hook up with people at junior high schools, high schools, and universities. We’re going to get you back into radio airplay.” He felt his music could have a positive effect on youth of the day. Along with producer Clive Davis, who had first signed him to his contract at Columbia in the 1960s, Santana devised a plan. He told David Wild in Rolling Stone, “I didn’t want Santana to sound like a Seventies jukebox. I wanted to be relevant today or as Wayne Shorter would say, ’Completely new, totally familiar.’”

Made Huge Comeback with Supernatural

Though many acts were not interested in working with someone they perceived to be old and washed-up, Santana, working with his band, managed to assemble a collection of some of the biggest talents in the industry, including Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Eagle Eye Cherry, Dave Matthews, Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, Evertasi, and the Dust Brothers, producers for Beck and the Beastie Boys. Even Eric Clapton made an appearance. The result was 1999’s Supernatural, which reached number one on the Billboard album chart and generated the number-one single, “Smooth.” Supernatural also became one of the most critically acclaimed CDs of the year and sold 14 million copies by 2003. The title, Santana told an Entertainment Weekly interviewer, “deals with the paranormal relationship between Lauryn Hill, Eric Clapton, and myself. Most of my collaborators said, ’I knew I was going to work with you because you were in my dreams.’” Surprisingly, Supernatural got nearly all of its airplay on pop and rock radio, with little support from Latino stations, despite the fact that five of the tracks are in Spanish.

In February of 2000, Santana won a whopping total of eight Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for “Smooth,” and Album of the Year and Best Rock Album for Supernatural. He also won an American Music Award that year for Best Album. He waited three years to release Shaman, his follow-up album to the phenomenon that was Supernatural. Santana followed the same blueprint that led them to success with Supernatural, assembling a stellar group of popular musicians to contribute to the album. Musiq, Seal, Michelle Branch, Dido, Placido Domingo, and many others make appearances on the album. All Music Guide reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine praised the album, but noted that with such a large ensemble of players, its success may stem from “reasons that have nothing to do with Santana.”

For Santana, it is not about the recognition as much as it is touching people with his art. “I want my music to clue my listeners into something beyond the song itself,” he once related to Dan Ouellette in Down Beat. “For example, this guy who had considered suicide wrote me a letter. He had seen the video of John Lee Hooker performing ’The Healer’ and it inspired him to seek another way of dealing with his problems. Now that’s more important to me than how many Grammys I get or how much money I could make selling Pepsi.”

Selected discography

Solo

(With Buddy Miles) Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live!, Columbia, 1972.

(With Mahavishnu John McLaughlin) Love, Devotion, Surrender, Columbia, 1973.

(With John Coltrane) Illuminations, Columbia, 1974.

Oneness, Silver Dreams-Golden Reality, Columbia, 1979.

Swing of Delight, Columbia, 1980.

Havana Moon, Columbia, 1983.

Blues for Salvador, Columbia, 1987.

Spirits Dancing in the Flesh, CBS, 1990.

With the group Santana

Santana, Columbia, 1969.

Abraxas, Columbia, 1970.

Santana III, Columbia, 1971.

Caravanserai, Columbia, 1972.

Welcome,Columbia, 1973.

Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1974.

Borboletta, Columbia, 1974.

Lotus, Columbia, 1975.

Amigos, Columbia, 1976.

Festival, Columbia, 1976.

Moonflower, CBS, 1977.

Inner Secrets, Columbia, 1978.

Marathon, Columbia, 1979.

Zebop, Columbia, 1981.

Shango, Columbia, 1982.

Beyond Appearances, Columbia, 1985.

Freedom, Columbia, 1987.

Viva Santana!, Columbia, 1988.

The Sound of Carlos Santana, Pair, 1989.

Milagro, Polygram, 1992.

Sacred Fire, Polydor, 1993.

Brothers, Polygram, 1994.

Dance of the Rainbow Serpent, Columbia, 1995.

Live at the Fillmore 1968, Sony, 1997.

Best of Santana, Columbia, 1998.

Supernatural, Arista, 1999.

Shaman, Arista, 2002.

Sources

Books

Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale Research, 1996. Newsmakers, Issue 2, Gale Group, 2000.

Periodicals

Arizona Republic, January 18, 2000, p. A10.

Down Beat, January 1981, p. 13; February 1988, p. 16; August 1991, p. 28.

Entertainment Weekly, September 10,1999, p. 151; December 24, 1999, p. 36; October 25, 2002, p. 73.

Guitar Player, January 1993, p. 58; January 1996, p. 61; August 1999, p. 74.

Hispanic, October 1992, p. 80; March 1996, p. 18.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, March 22, 2002; October 2, 2002;

Latin Beat, September 1999, p. 20.

Music & Media, November 9, 2002, p.3.

Newsweek, February 14, 2000, p. 66.

Rolling Stone, February 21, 1980, p. 26; September 22, 1988, p. 27; August 24,1989, p. 65; September 3, 1992, p. 68; December 9, 1993, p. 24; October 28, 1993, p. 30; August r9, 1993, p. 47.

Star Tribune(Minneapolis, MN), February 8, 2000.

Online

Santana Official Website, http://www.santana.com (July 7, 2003).

”Shaman,” All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (July 1, 2003).

Geri Koeppel

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Santana, Carlos

Carlos Santana

Jazz, rock guitarist

Discovers a Musical Cornucopia

Revelation at Woodstock

Undergoes Spiritual Conversion

Selected discography

Sources

Carlos Santanas music, an eclectic blend of international rhythms, has proved more durable than the Rhythm-and-Blues sound that dominated the sixties, and indeed than later trends such as the disco movement of the 1970s. Santanas concerts, with their trademark searing guitar solos over a background of powerful Afro-Cuban style percussion, continue to attract a world-wide audience.

Santanas origins are about as far from the mainstream as could be imagined. He was born July 20, 1947 in Autlan de Navarro, a remote village in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. His father, Jose Santana, was a violinist of some local renown and through him Carlos had his earliest exposure to music in the form of the traditional Mexican violin. Although he never found the violin to his liking, Santana acquired a definite appreciation for music and the determination to make performing his career. When the Santana family moved to the border city of Tijuana in 1955, Carlos discovered American music. Rock-and-roll and blues artists such as Freddy King, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Little Richard were given heavy air play on the radio and by local cover bands, and the teenaged Carlos found something soul-stirring in the powerful electric rhythms. His father gave him a guitar and by the early sixties, he became a professional musician, playing long hours in the thriving Tijuana strip club scene.

Discovers a Musical Cornucopia

In 1961, Santanas father moved to San Francisco to seek work and, soon after, the rest of the family followed him. Carlos disliked the United States at first and returned to Tijuanato live on his own and support himself as a club musician. Although this brief spell of freedom was stimulating, the harsh lifestyle of the club circuit took its toll and in late 1963, Santana returned to San Francisco for good. Here he found a new variety of music, discovering jazz, international folk music, classic salsa from the likes of Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri, and seeing artists like B.B. King, whose records he had memorized note-by-note, perform live. To his young, fertile mind, the Bay Area was, as Carlos remembered in a Billboard interview, a cornucopia.

It was also the area where the hippie movement was coming to life in a ferment of confusion and creativity. Santana observed the scene from its margins, absorbing its eclectic ideals and cultivating his own musical abilities. Employed full-time as a dishwasher at a down-town diner, he jammed on weekends with anyone he could find, playing for spare change in the street while sizing up musicians for his band. When, one day in 1966,

For the Record

Born July 20, 1947 in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico; son of Jose (traditional violinist) and Josefina Santana; adapted religious name Devadip (the light of the lamp of the Supreme) in the early 1970s; married Deborah Sara King in 1973.

Began performing in 1961 in Tijuana, Mexico; lead guitarist of group Santana (founded as Santana Blues Band in San Francisco, CA), 1966; recording artist with Columbia/CBS, 1969-1991; recording artist with Polydor, 1991; founded Guts and Grace record label, 1994; appeared at Fillmore West, 1968, Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, 1969, Altamont Festival, 1969, California Jam II, 1978, LiveAid, 1985, first Amnesty International concert tour, 1986, Woodstock 94, 1994; has recorded and performed with: Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Jose Feliciano, Miles Davis, Flora Purim, Herbie Hancock, Buddy Miles, John Coltrane, Turiya Alice Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Aretha Franklin, Babatunde Olatunji, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Blues Traveler.

Awards: Playboy All-Star Jazz and Pop Poll - Record of the Year for Abraxas, 1972; Bay Area Music Awards -Best Group, 1980; Playboy Reader Music Poll -Number One Pop/Rock Guitarist, 1983; Playboy Reader Music Poll - Number One: Pop/Rock Guitarist, 1984; Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, Blues for Salvador, 1988; Bay Area Music Awards, Musician of the Year, 1989; Billboard Century Award for distinguished creative achievement, 1996.

Addresses: Home San Rafael, CA. Publicist Jensen Communications, Inc., 230 East Union Street, Pasadena, CA 91101.

the band members of Grateful Dead happened to pull up to the diner in limousines, Santana came to the sudden realization that he was just as good a musician as they were and capable of being just as successful. Deciding to take the plunge and become a full-time musician, he quit on the spot and joined forces with fellow street musicians bassist David Brown and keyboard player Gregg Rolie to form the Santana Blues band.

Amid the noise of the many San Francisco rock groups that came into being at the same time, the Santana Blues Bandquickly shortened to Santanahad to struggle to be heard. Fortunately for them, their sound, a fast-tempo, improvisational take on Latin music that fused elements of jazz, blues, salsa, and African music, proved immediately appealing to club audiences. One person who was particularly taken with them was rock promoter Bill Graham, a moving force behind the Bay Area music scene, who was looking for an alternative to the countless sound-alike blues bands. Impressed by the distinct Afro-Cuban resonance of the band, Graham booked them in 1968 at his Fillmore West and Winterland clubs and promoted them vigorously. Their fortunes underwent a steady rise, culminating in a legendary performance at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in 1969.

Revelation at Woodstock

Face-to-face with some half million revelers, the bandconsisting of Santana, Rolie, Brown, Mike Shrieve on drums, and Jose Areas and Mike Carrabello on percussionwas nervous, but elated. As Santana recalled in a Rolling Stone article commemorating the festivals twentieth anniversary, It was a bit scary to go out there and plug into this ocean of hair, teeth, eyes, and arms. It was incredible. Their set was a revelation to an audience which had little or no previous experience with Latin or jazz music and definitely liked what it heard. Music executives were just as appreciative and the bandsfirst album, Santana, was released by Columbia in 1969. It would remain on the Billboard Charts for over two years and become a triple platinum album, selling nearly four million copies.

Santana had arrived and the success of their first album, exemplified by the top 10 single Evil Ways, was just the beginning. In 1970, the band released a second album, Abraxas, that yielded two hit singles, Oye Como Va and Black Magic Woman, and went platinum. Santana III, a gold album in 1971, and Caravanserai, a platinum album in 1972 followed. During the same period, a deepening interest in jazz led Carlos to his first collaborative effort outside the group in the form of Live!, recorded with jazz drummer Buddy Miles in the crater of Hawaiis Diamond Head volcano.

The band underwent a number of personnel changes during this period as Carlos experimented with a shifting mix of musicians. Guitarist Neal Schon joined the group in 1971 and then left in 1973 after the release of Caravanserai with Gregg Rolie, one of the Santana Blues Bands original founders, to form the group Journey. In time, Carlos was the only member from the original group left, and Santana, the band, came to be almost exclusively associated with him and his Latin rock/jazz fusion guitar playing. Although many groups might have foundered under the pressure of so much tinkering with internal chemistry, Carlos seemed to have a gift for choosing musicians who would meld together effortlessly, as he explained in a Down Beai interview, [I had] to learn howto be wise getting a person who has his identity but is like water because I dont play just one idiom of music.

Undergoes Spiritual Conversion

Santanas personal life also continued to change and evolve in ways that would effect the groups music. Disheartened by the alienation he saw in the music world at the beginning of the 1970s, reflected in the drug-induced deaths of many prominent musicians, he became a follower of SriChimnoy, aguru and proponent of meditation, who gave Santanathe name Devadip, meaning the light of the lamp of the supreme. His identification with Chimnoys teachings, as well as a deep fascination with the eastern-influenced music of jazz master John Coltrane, brought him together with fellow Chimnoy devotee and guitar wizard, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. They released the spiritually-oriented jazz-fusion album Love, Devotion, Surrender in 1973 and it went gold, testifying to the popular draw of value-based religious music. Over the next decade, Santana released four more similar-themed solo albums, recording with the likes of Turiya Alice Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Ron Carter.

Although Santanas religiosity would be very important to him throughout the seventies and early eighties, he managed to keep it separate from the more pop-oriented work he was doing with his band. Over the course of the decade, the group released a string of albums, including the highly successful Amigos in 1976, and Zebop in 1981, both of which marked a return to the latin-based rock with which the group was so strongly identified. With the exception of the live album Lotus, all of the records released by the group between 1969 and 1981 went gold or platinum, a track record which few other bands at the time could match.

In 1982, Santana ended his association with Sri Chimnoy, feeling that he had outgrown a need for a spiritual advisor and preferring to let music alone guide him. As he commented in a Billboard interview, the tone of Miles [Davis] or the moan of John Lee Hooker, that stuff touches me way deeper than a hundred gurus, a thousand yogis, fifteen hundred popes. However, he continued to explore jazz, touring with Wayne Shorter in 1988, and recording solo albums such as Blues for Salvador, released in 1987, which garnered Santana his first Grammy award.

With the decline of commercial interest in jazz/rock fusion during the 1980s, Santanas group recorded less frequently, releasing only five albums over the course of the decade as opposed to the twelve they had recorded during the seventies. Nonetheless the band maintained a high public profile, touring extensively to sold-out auditoriums and appearing at the US Festival, LiveAid, and on the first Amnesty International concert tour. Like many artists from the sixties, Carlos felt that the most important thing about his group was what took place on stage, the spontaneity and communication with the audience, rather than the number of albums they sold. Discussing his musical goals in a 1988 Down Beat article, he asserted, I dont measure my life according to Rolling Stone or the Pope or Billboard. If I can give myself chills or make my hair stand up, it doesnt matter whether Im [playing] in front of Macys or in Madison Square Garden.

In 1991, Carlos ended his twenty-two year relationship with Columbia/CBS and signed with Polydor, releasing the albums Milagro in 1992, and Sacred Fire: Live in South America in 1993. In 1994, Carlos founded his own label, called Gutsand Grace, and released asolo album, Brothers, a collaboration between Carlos, his brother Jorge Santana, and nephew Carlos Hernandez that was nominated for a best rock instrumental Grammy Award. Twenty-five years after his arrival at Woodstock, he exposed a whole new generation of music fans to his fieryguitar work at the commemorative Woodstock 94 festival. In 1995, he played with blues legend John Lee Hooker on the album Chill Out and in 1996 received the Century Award from Billboard magazine in recognition of his impact over thirty years on the American music scene.

Santanas music continues to hold audiences around the world spellbound. Although it might be tempting to dismiss him as a musical relic whose durability is based on nostalgia for the sixties, one would be greatly mistaken in doing so. Santana appeals to contemporary listen-ersfor the same reason that his group originally interested Bill Graham: an ability to reach beyond artistic boundaries and find something new. Two decades before world music was recognized by the public and record executives, Santana made it an art form. From the departure point of his Latin roots, Santana and a host of accompanying musicians blended Eastern music, Rhythm-and-Blues, Afro-Cuban jazz, African drumming, and innumerable other influences into a searing, multicultural mix that transcends musical and spiritual borders. In doing so, he created, and continues to create, a uniquely American hybrid.

Selected discography

Santana, Columbia, 1969.

Abraxas, Columbia, 1970.

Santana III, Columbia, 1971.

Caravanserai, Columbia, 1972.

(With Buddy Miles) Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live. Columbia, 1972

Welcome, Columbia, 1973.

(With Mahavishnu John McLaughlin) Love, Devotion, Surrender, Columbia, 1973

Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1974.

Borboletta, Columbia, 1974.

Illuminations, Columbia, 1974.

Lotus, Columbia, 1975.

Amigos, Columbia, 1976.

Festival, Columbia, 1976.

Moonflower, CBS, 1977.

Inner Secrets, Columbia, 1978.

Marathon, Columbia, 1979.

Oneness, Silver Dreams-Golden Reality, Columbia, 1979.

The Swing of Delight, Columbia, 1980.

Zebop, Columbia, 1981.

Shango, Columbia, 1982.

Havana Moon, Columbia, 1983.

Beyond Appearances, Columbia, 1985.

Freedom, Columbia, 1987.

Blues for Salvador, Columbia, 1987.

Viva Santana!, Columbia, 1988.

The Sound of Carlos Santana, Pair, 1989.

Spirits Dancing in the Flesh, CBS Records, 1990.

Milagro, Polygram Records, 1992.

Sacred Fire, Polydor, 1993.

Brothers, Polygram Records, 1994.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, April 6, 1996; December 7, 1996.

Down Beat, February 1988; August 1991.

Guitar Player, January 1993.

Rolling Stone, August 24, 1989.

Stereo Review, February 1989.

Additional information for this profile was provided by Island Records, New York, NY and Jensen Communications, Pasadena, CA, 1997.

Daniel Hodges

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Selena

Selena

Singer

Early Love of Music

Hired Fan Club President

Gone Too Soon

Selected discography

Sources

The undisputed Queen of Tejano, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez rocketed meteorically into the spotlight in the late 1980s. Within a few years, the artist, known simply as Selena, won a Grammy Award for her album Selena Live. Selena sold six albums between 1987 and 1994. By the age of 19, she was a millionaire; by the age of 21, she could draw crowds of 20,000 at the fairgrounds at Pasadena, Texas. Music critics proclaimed she would be the next Madonna, i.e. a mega-star of music and movies. Tragically, however, Selenas career was cut short at the age of 23, when she was murdered by the president of her fan club.

Selena and her band performed Tejano musicMexican ranchera style music mixed with German polka sounds owing influence to pop, country and western, and Caribbean music. Tejano traditionally meant music by Texans of Mexican descent. But Selena, among others, modernized the traditional accordion-based Tejano or Tex-Mex music with country twangs, techno-pop beats, dance mixes, and international influences. More than 70 radio stations playing the uniquely, Latino-styled tunes form a corridor from south Texas through California.

Selena Quintanilla was born April 16, 1971, in Lake Jackson, Texas, a small industrial town near Houston. Her father Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. worked as a shipping clerk at the Dow Chemical plant. Abraham and his wife Marcela had three children: Abraham III, Suzette, and Selena, the youngest. In his own youth, Quintanilla had performed as a vocalist with Los Dinos ( the boys) a popular South Texas band. When Quintanilla heard his daughter sing at six years of age, he knew Selena was destined for a musical career and encouraged the musical talents that she revealed. In a 1995 People article, Quintanilla affirmed that Selenas timing and [her] pitch were perfect. I could see it from day one.

Early Love of Music

Selena practiced with the music she enjoyed, a wide range of music from the soul music of Little Anthony and the Imperials to country and western music and even the stylized R&B of Michael Jackson. Through her love of all different kinds of music and early jam sessions with her brother on bass and her sister on drums, Selena demonstrated her passion for the musical arts.

After years of working for others, Abraham Quintanilla opened his own Tex-Mex restaurant in Lake Jackson. There Selena first performed in public with her brother and sister as members of her band. But the economic recession of the early 1980s delivered a knockout blow that closed the family restaurant, forcing them to leave

For the Record

Born Selena Quintanilla, April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, TX; died of gunshot wounds March 31, 1995 in Corpus Christi, TX; daughter of Abraham (a shipping clerk, restaurant owner) and Marcela Quintanilla; married Chris Perez, 1992.

Began performing with siblings as Selena y Los Dinos (Selena and the Boys) in the late 70s; recorded first song in 1979; left school in the eighth grade and recorded for a small regional label; signed to EMI/Latin in 1989.

Selected Awards: Tejano Music Awards for best female vocalist and performer of the year, 1987; Grammy Award for best Mexican American album, 1993, for Selena Live; Grammy nomination, 1995, for Amor Prohibido (Forbidden Love); Tejano Music Awards, 1995, for song of the year (Bidi Bidi Bom Bom), best female entertainer, best female vocalist, album of the year (Amor Prohibido), Tejano crossover song, and record of the year.

their home and sell all their belongings. Selenas talent would save them.

While the rest of the Quintanillas relocated in Corpus Christi, Selena and her siblings hit the road, performing throughout southern Texas as Selena y Los Dinos ( Selena and the Boys). They played at weddings and in cantinas and honky-tonks to very small audiencesoftentimes less than ten people. In a dilapidated van with one foldout bed in the back, the troupe traveled and performed. In 1979, eight-year-old Selena recorded her first tunea country song sung in Spanish; her Tex-Mex band was in full swing by 1980.

Selena left school in the eighth grade to spend more time travelling with the band and earning money for her family, but she eventually completed her high school equivalency requirements through a correspondence course. The band started playing larger venues, including ballrooms. They also recorded nearly one dozen albums for a small regional label. In 1987, Selenathen 15-years-oldwon Tejano Music Awards for best female vocalist and performer of the year. This was the big break that Selena and the band had worked for years to achieve. Two years later, the Latin division of the EMI Records Group signed the band to a record deal.

Though Selena was the rising star of Latino pop, she was still very much a Texan. She could not speak Spanish and learned the Spanish lyrics for her lively songs and romantic ballads phonetically, coached by her brother, who wrote the songs. At the advice of her father, turned manager, she began taking Spanish lessons in the early 1990s, so that she could project a more genuine Latino image during interviews on Spanish-language radio.

In 1992 Selena Quintanilla married the bands guitarist Chris Pérez. The union did not hamper Selenas sexy image. Rather, Selena became known as the Tex-Mex Madonna because of her sexy bustiers and provocative smiles on-stage though off-stage she remained a wholesome, married woman who was devoted to her family.

Hired Fan Club President

Selena had repeatedly refused offers for fan clubs, keeping her career a family project. But then came Yolanda Saldivar who expressed interest in founding and running Selenas fan club. She was an aunt of one of Selenas childhood friends, but beyond that she was a stranger. Saldivar lived near San Antonio, working as a registered nurse, and caring for three children abandoned by her brother. Despite Saldivars remote connection to the Quintanillas, Selena and her family appointed Saldivar as the president of the Selena fan club, an unpaid position. In just four years, Selenas fan club attracted 9000 members.

When speaking of her desire to work for Selena, Saldivar told the Dallas Morning News in 1994 that she became a devoted Selena fan after seeing a San Antonio concert in 1989. Selena just inspired mewith her talent, her motivation. She gives her whole to you. The two developed a close friendship. Though Saldivar did not receive an official salary, Selena often bestowed the woman with gifts and indulged Saldivars penchant for spotted cows with cow-patterned rugs and phones. Saldivar reciprocated by transforming her apartment into a Selena shrine, laden with Selena photos and memorabilia, including a life-size cardboard pop-up of the singer.

In 1993 Selena Live received a Grammy Award for best Mexican American album. Selenas 1994 album, Amor Prohibido (Forbidden Love) recipient of a Grammy nominationsold 600,000 copies in the United States. The fourth single from the album, Fotos y Recuerdos ( Photographs and Memories), reached the top ten on Billboard magazines Latino charts.

By 1995, Selenas albums had sold a combined total of 3 million copies. Twice, she played to record crowds of 60,000 at Houstons annual Livestock Show and Rodeo. Selenas Bidi Bidi Bom Bom won the singer a song of the year award at the Tejano Music Awards in early 1995. She also won five more of the 15 awards presented at the 1995 Tejano Music Awards ceremonies, including best female entertainer; best female vocalist; album of the year; Tejano crossover song; and record of the year. An amazed Selena was quoted as saying in Time magazine, Never in my dreams would I have thought I would become this big. I am still freaking out.

In 1994, Selena promoted Saldivar to a paid position as head of Selena Etc. Inc., a company devoted to overseeing two Selena boutiques/salonsone in Corpus Christi and one in San Antonioand to marketing a line of Selena fashions to be sold in the boutiques as well as in other retail venues. But things began falling apart rapidly. First, fashion designer Martin Gomez quit, claiming that he could not work with Saldivar, who he accused of being mean and manipulative. The problem escalated with reports of other lapses by Saldivar involving misuse of funds.

Meanwhile, fans were not receiving t-shirts and other Selena items that they had paid for, and money was disappearing from one of the salons. Selena and her father both confronted Saldivar about the reported abuses. Saldivar protested claiming that she had documentation to prove her innocence, and offered to show Selena the alleged papers.

Gone Too Soon

Selena and Saldivar were supposed to meet alone at the Days Inn where Saldivar was staying. Instead Selena brought her husband; Saldivar proved not to have the papers shed claimed to possess. The next day Selena went to the Days Inn sometime before noon to talk with Saldivar. At 11:50a.m., the Corpus Christi police received a 911 call of a shooting at the motel.

Police detailed that Saldivar met Selena at the door of her motel room with a .38-caliber revolver, shooting the singer in the back and shoulder. Selena staggered to the lobby before collapsing, though she remained conscious until paramedics arrived. Response teams rushed Selena to the hospital. Despite blood transfusions, Selena died a few hours after being shot, on March 31, 1995. Saldivar was charged with Selenas murder.

But the ordeal did not end with Selenas death. Saldivar holed up with the revolver in the cab of a pickup truck in the Days Inn parking lot. For hours she threatened to shoot herself while negotiating with police via a cellular car phone. As the news of Selenas murder spread, the singers fans stood vigil at the Days Inn. Saldivar finally surrendered at 9:30 p.m.

In the wake of Selenas murder, grieving fans swamped the Quintanilla family with remembrances, including bouquets, rosaries, and votives. Condolences were sent to the Quintanillas by Julio Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, Madonna, and La Mafia, a well-known Latino group. Local radio stations devoted their programming to Selenas music, and more than 1000 Selena tapes and compact discs were sold at a frenzied pace during the next couple of weeks.

Fifteen hundred mourners attended a vigil for the singing star at the Bayfront Plaza and Convention Center prior to her funeral held at Corpus Christis Memorial Coliseum, the arena where she had recorded her smash hit Selena Live. 10,000 people flooded Corpus Christi to pass by Selenas coffin. In Los Angeles, 4000 people gathered at the Sports Arena Memorial to honor the slain singer. Mourners also gathered in San Antonio, the capital of Tejano music, at two separate sites.

Selena was killed just as her career was about to skyrocket in new directions. She had recorded six songs for an English-language album, her first with EMIs SBK division, making her only the third Latino performer to ever cross from the Latin division to the more mainstream part of the record company. In addition, she had made her film debut as herself in Dos Mujeres, Un Camino, a Latino Television soap. In 1995, she continued to advance her film career as a mariachi singer in the film Don Juan DeMarco, and she had collaborated with former Talking Heads leader David Bryne on the song Gods Child for the film Blue in the Face.

Cameron Randle, a recording industry executive specializing in Tex-Mex music, voiced his opinions of Selena in a retrospective of her career published in Entertainment Weekly in April of 1995. Selena was not merely forging an exceptional career, she was defining a new genre as uniquely American as Delta blues or New Orleans jazz. Theres every indication she would have been as enormously popular as [fellow Latinos] Jon Secada or Gloria Estefan. She was about to take center stage as the first Tejano performer to attempt a full-scale crossover, and she was robbed of that opportunity.

Selenas posthumous release Dreaming of You entered the Billboard 200 at number onethe second-highest chart debut after Michael Jacksons History and was also a number one album on the Billboard Latin 50. The jump into the top pop slot made Selena one of the fastest selling female artists of all time, second only to Janet Jackson. An amazing 175,000 copies of the compact disc were sold on the first day of release.

Selected discography

On Capitol/EMI Latin

Entre A Mi Mundo, 1992.

Ms Mejores Canciones, 1993.

Selena Live, 1993.

Amor Prohibido, 1994.

Dreaming of You, 1995.

Sources

Billboard, February 25, 1995.

Entertainment Weekly, April 14, 1995.

Hispanic, December 31, 1994.

Los Angeles Times, April 1, 1995; April 2, 1995; April 3, 1995.

La Prensa de San Antonio, June 11, 1993; November 19, 1993; April 29, 1994.

New York Times, April 2, 1995; April 3, 1995.

People, April 17, 1995; July 10, 1995.

Time, April 10, 1995.

Christopher B. Tower

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Santana, Carlos

Carlos Santana

Guitarist and bandleader

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Carlos Santanas own spiritual committment, his natural love of the festival and of dance have made for a fabulous melting pot of a rock band, not the greatest rock band in the world but the greatest world band in rock, John Piccarella wrote in 1979 in a Village Voice column entitled Santanas Indegenous Internationalism. In the ten years that followed, rock music was redefined almost monthly, but the world music of Carlos Santana and his ensembles has remained popular around the world.

Santana was born in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico, on July 20, 1947. His father, a mariachi violinist, taught him the violin and guitar. After the family moved to Tijuana, he began to learn and copy American blues from recordings of B.B. King and Chuck Berry, later adding T-Bone Walker and Saunders King to his list of influences. Santana moved to San Francisco, where his parents had relocated, and discovered jazz. According to Mark Rowland in the liner notes for the album Viva Santana!, Santana also discovered the salsa giants like Tito Puente, Ray Baretto and Eddie Palmieri. Santana explained to Rowland that salsa was a serious music, proud. A positive side, a dignifying side of Africa through Cuba and Puerto Rico.

The band Santana was formed in 1966 around the talents of bass guitarist David Brown and keyboard player Gregg Rolie. The bands improvisational sessions rooted in Latin American rhythms quickly became popular with jazz enthusiasts who recognized its creativity in combining salsa and blues riffs. The music of Santana also had a large audience among the Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, and Latin American communities in the United States, as well as among those who enjoyed dancing to the bands rhythmic beat.

Santana made its breakthrough to the mainstream audience at the Woodstock festival, via San Franciscos Fillmore Theatre and its manager Bill Graham. Although they were still unrecorded, they were included in a festival line-up that featured Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Joan Baez. Their set, ending with Soul Sacrifice, was documented in the film Woodstock (1970), which reached an audience that did not listen to jazz or Latin stations. Santana, now made up of Carlos Santana on guitar, Rolie, Brown, percussionist Michael Carabello (on drums, congo drums and tambourine) and timbalist/percusionist Chepito Areas, had a string of gold and platinum albums for ColumbiaSantana, Abraxas, and Santana III testifying to their crossover success. The first single, Jingo, was given frequent playings on FM and Spanish-language AM stations on either coast. Two hit singles, Evil Ways and Peter Greens Black Magic Woman were popular on dance lists across the country. Later gold albums included

For the Record

Adopted spiritual name Devadip during 1970s; born July 20, 1947, in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico; son of Jose (a musician) and Josephina Santana; married; wifes name Urmila (a religious professional with Sri Chinmoy).

Founder of and guitarist in band Santana, 1966; recording artist with Columbia Records, 1968; appeared at Woodstock music festival, 1969, live performance featured in documentary film Woodstock, 1970. Has performed and recorded with numerous musicians, including Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, John McLaughlin, Jose Feliciano, Buddy Miles, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Alice Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Wayne Shorter, and Olatunjl. Awards: Recipient of Gold Medal Award, 1977.

Addresses: Manager Bill Graham Productions, P.O. Box 1994, San Francisco CA 94101.

Caravanserai (1972) and Welcome (1972). Among the other instrumentalists who have appeared with Santana are congoist Armando Peraza, Ndugu Chancier, and jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Carlos Santana has also performed as a jazz musician.

The spiritual conversion of Carlos Santana to Sri Chinmoy affected his music and the groups. As Devadip [Eye of God] Santana, he performed and recorded with fellow believers John Coltrane, Turiya Alice Coltrane, and Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. Frank Rose, reviewing a collaborative concert of Santana, Contrane, and McLaughlin in 1974 for the Village Voice, described Santana as flourishing in the double shadow of Coltranes genius and McLaughlins spiritualism, partially because, as Rose wrote, Santanas piecing quitar slashed through it like a lightning bolt. The fusion period of the early and mid-1970s brought such experimental albums as Love, Devotion, Surrender (1973) in collaboration with McLaughlin. Most of Santanas interviews in this period concentrated on his conversion and on the changes that it had brought to his bands collaborative functioning. It also brought Santana back to Woodstock, this time for an outdoor concert dedicated to Sri Chinmoys music.

Latin-based rock returned as Santanas principal genre with the album Amigos (1976) and Zebop (1982). His personal fusion of rock and salsa was not always appreciated by the audience, according to John Storm Roberts of the Village Voice.Despite everything, Carlos Santanas musical achievement seems to me underrated, he wrote in a review of a May 1976 concert. His music is an uncommonly equal yoke of salsa and rock and his musicians can sear steak. The strength of this fusion is fully grasped neither by his rock audience, which certainly doesnt understand the richness of his Afro-Latin references, nor by older Latins, who often talk as through he was trying to play salsa, and not quite making it.

By 1979, Santana had split his musical identity into his work with the band, which still played fusion Latin-rock and his solo albums, which were more overtly religious. In John Rockwells New York Times column, The Pop Life, in March 1979, he described the difference between Santanas two new releases. Inner Secrets [the band album] is a typically appealing Santana grab bag with a couple of overt extensions into disco that dont represent any real alteration at all. The songs are more concise and pop oriented than ever, yet Mr. Santanas strong, lyrical guitar solos and the percussion build a bridge to his past. Now, Santana is more willing to confine his overt religiousity to such projects as Oneness [the solo album] and to let his spiritual mesage be more indirectly conveyed at Santana concerts. Santana credited Bill Graham with his return to his musical roots, according to an interview Graham gave Robert Jasinski in the New York Daily News in 1982. I told Devadip Santana that people wanted to hear the street sound that made them dance and sweat and that they associated with the band, said Graham.

Santana has also conveyed his message of spiritual awareness at a variety of political and socially conscious benefits. The band was one of only four acts to appear at both Woodstock and LiveAid. They can be seen and heard on Musicourtthe United Cerebral Palsy benefit jam sessions recorded on video in 1981. Santana joined with Run-D.M.C at a Crack-Down concert (for Artists for Crack Education) in November 1986 that featured a collaboration among its members, West African percussionist Babtunde Olatunji, and second-generation salsa-fusionist Reuben Blades.

Santanas annual summertime concert in New York City, held either at Forest Hills Stadium, Pier 84, or at an outdoor location, gives the band an opportunity to collaborate with other fusion groups. In 1987, for example, they performed with the New Orleans-based Neville Brothers, with results that Dan Aquilante of the New York Post described as spellbinding. If the Santana repertory was a pack of 52, then each time he snapped a song off the top of the deck it was an ace. A reunion concert in 1988 brought Santana together with Rolie and Michael Shrieve for a tough jamming band that favored long improvisations, as Peter Watrous described it in a New York Times review. The loose song forms give Mr. Santana room to toss out some of the musical ideas on his mind; throughout the night, acting like a jazz musician, he quoted from other songs. But more than anything, it is an instrumental band and it was over a steaming, raunchy blues boogie that both Mr. Santana and Mr. Rolie found their highest moments.

Viva Santana! is both a re-issuing of old material and a reunion of early collaborators. Although the bands family tree is so complex that it is printed over two double-page spreads, it is apparent from the sounds on the double album that Santanas fusion still holds and is capable of continuous evolution. Santana has often been described as Americas premiere rock and roll ambassador to the world because it accepts the musical heritage of the entire world as valid and worthy of experimentation within its improvisatory borders.

Selected discography

With group Santana; released by Columbia

Santana, 1968.

Abraxas, 1970.

Santana III, 1972.

Caravanserai, 1972.

Welcome, 1973.

Greatest Hits, 1974.

Borboletta, 1974.

Lotus, 1975.

Amigos, 1976.

Festival, 1977.

Moonllower, 1977.

Inner Secrets, 1979.

Marathon, 1979.

Swing of Delight, 1980.

Zebop, 1981.

Shango, 1982.

Havana Moon, 1983.

Beyond Appearances, 1985.

Freedom, 1987.

Viva Santana! (compilation), 1989.

Solo albums

Devadip CarlosOneness: Silver Dreams, Golden Reality, Columbia, 1979.

Blues For Salvador, Columbia, 1987.

With others

With Buddy Miles, Columbia, 1971.

(With John McLaughlin)Love Devotion Surrender, Columbia, 1973.

(With Alice Coltrane)Illuminations, Columbia, 1974.

Has appeared as guest artist on numerous albums, including on Gato Barbieris Tropico, 1978; Mike Bloomfields Live Adventures, 1969; Papa John Creachs Papa John Creach, 1971 ; Bob Dylans Real Live, 1984; Herbie Hancocks Monster, 1980; and Boz Scaggss Middleman, 1980.

Sources

New York Daily News, August 6, 1982.

New York Post, July 20, 1987.

New York Times, May 9, 1976; March 9, 1979; November 2, 1986; September 17, 1988.

Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972; May 6, 1976.

Villiage Voice, March 14, 1974; May 17, 1976; March 26, 1979.

Barbara Stratyner

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Santana, Carlos

CARLOS SANTANA

Born: Autlan de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico, 20 July 1947

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Supernatural (1999)

Hit songs since 1990: "Smooth," "Maria, Maria," "The Game of Love"


Guitarist Carlos Santana is one of the surviving electric-guitar "gods" who descended on rock in the late 1960s. Known for wresting a rainbow of sounds from the instrument, Santana set himself apart from contemporaries by pioneering a well-received Latin-influenced rock sound. Additionally, his strong spiritual beliefs have added mystical elements to his music. Santana's career met incredible success as the new millennium began.


To Woodstock through Tijuana

Santana's major musical influences were his father, who was a professional violinist in a mariachi band, and the bustling nightclubs of Tijuana, Mexico, where his family settled in the 1950s. As a child, Santana understood that his life's purpose would be music, and after dabbling initially with the violin, he put it down to concentrate on guitar. Santana gained valuable experience playing 1950s American blues and rock in Tijuana before moving to San Francisco, California, in 1963 to join his family, who had settled there in 1961. In San Francisco, Santana found a burgeoning musical scene, rich in many styles, including psychedelic rock, blues, folk, and Latin jazz. He formed the Santana Blues Band and they stood out among a flood of bands in the city's musical overflow by fusing Latin rhythms with elements of blues and jazz to become a local favorite of the growing hippie culture. The band, whose name was shortened to Santana, also caught the ear of illustrious promoter, Bill Graham, and he quickly elevated their status by booking them into his famous concert arena, the Fillmore West. Although interest in Santana (the band) by record companies was already abundant, they waited until their triumphant exposure at the renowned Woodstock concert in 1969 to talk business. They captivated the 500,000 concertgoers with a driving jam of, "Soul Sacrifice" and afterward signed with Columbia Records. Santana began recording a string of successful albums, which included hit songs such as "Black Magic Woman," "Evil Ways," "Everybody's Everything," and "Oye Como Va." The band went through several personnel changes after the third album, Santana III (1970), and began influencing their sound with more jazz, picking up jazz drummer extraordinaire, Buddy Miles, for the next three albums.

Meanwhile, Carlos, who had catapulted to stardom in a very short time, grew increasingly distressed over the casualties of rock music's excessive trappings, particularly the substance abuse. The deaths of rock notables such as Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, in addition to guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman, forced him to rethink his lifestyle. He sought spiritual guidance from Indian guru Sri Chinmoy, which linked him with fellow Chinmoy devotee, guitar whiz Jon McLaughlin. They collaborated on the jazz-inclined and spiritually filled Love, Devotion and Surrender (1973). Santana stopped following Chin-moy in 1982 but remains very open about spirituality and his journey to serve a higher power with his music.

Eventually the name Santana became synonymous with both the band and the guitarist as he continued to tour and record throughout the 1970s and 1980s, backed up by a revolving cast of supporting players. While his ensuing recording efforts continued to do well, none of them reaped the commercial success of the first three. However, Santana toured extensively throughout the 1980s and remained a huge concert draw wherever he played.


A Supernatural Success

After the release of Spirits Dancing in the Flesh (1990), Santana switched record labels, hoping to infuse his recording career with increased spiritual breadth and commercial success. His next album, Milagro (1992), is dedicated to Bill Graham and celebrated jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. Milagro received positive critical acclaim and further defined Santana's unique rock sound, which some classify under the recently coined genre "world music." However, Santana brought his ethnically fused sound into rock well before there was any name for it. Only a handful of rock guitaristsJeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and the late guitarists Roy Buchannon and Jimi Hendrixseem truly as "one" with their instrument as Santana. His fretwork combines smooth speed with impeccable taste and whether ferocious or simple, it always seems perfectly placed. His guitar hangs slightly higher than most rock players wear theirs, especially some of the strutting greats such as Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, and Joe Perry, and he cradles and coerces notes from it as if it were a fluid object. Santana's playing is blues informed, but he shifts easily into melodic major scales or the abandon of free-formed jazz as heard in his work with McLaughlin. Only Beck competes in musical range.

Santana included his brother, guitarist Jorge Santana, and a nephew on Santana Brothers (1994) and then waited five years before releasing his next recording. This marked a period during which Santana seemed to be gliding gracefully off into the sunset. He did tours with other legends like Bob Dylan and Beck while revisiting Woodstock in 1994 for the Woodstock II reunion concert. He was a special guest on blues great John Lee Hooker's hit album Chill Out (1995) and watched in wonderment, like many others, as the elderly Hooker enjoyed the greatest success of his career. Santana was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996 and in 1998 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Prior to the release of Supernatural (1999), Santana spoke of a dream in which he saw himself working with a younger set of players. (Santana may also have been dreaming about John Lee Hooker's success.) Afterward, he informed his record company that he was not content with merely rehashing his old sound. Santana wanted to push forward with a new pop sound and embark on a mission to spread his gift and spiritual message to a wider, younger audience. Using the recipe of success du jourteaming legends with up-and-comersSantana co-wrote and performed with Dave Matthews, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Rob Thomas of matchbox twenty. The results were staggeringly successful. Supernatural went on to sell more than 11 million copies and serve up a megahit, the salsa-styled "Smooth," which Thomas sings. Santana's guitar work is riveting, full of rich tones that enhance and blend with the album's vocals and rise majestically in the solos. Santana took very little credit for his accomplishment and instead attributed it to the positive vibe from his fellow performers and a spiritual power. The ever-modest Santana filled his arms with nine Grammy Awards for Supernatural, including Album of the Year in 2000. In his thirty-plus-year career, Santana had won only one other Grammy, in 1988, for Best Rock Instrumental on Blues for Salvador (1988).

It would be hard to imagine Santana's heavenly success with Supernatural as anything but a career peak. In his follow-up album, Shaman (2002), he continued to bridge music cultures with a Latin-funk sound. Again, Santana features several guest stars, most notably opera star Plácido Domingo. Thomas does not perform on this album, but he wrote several songs and Michelle Branch sings the album's single, "The Game of Love." Branch appeared with Santana at the pregame musical extravaganza for the 2003 Super Bowl.

In an industry rife with selfishness and brash behavior, Santana is a refreshingly humble, good-natured soul, someone more concerned about humanity than album sales. Long respected as a godlike guitar player, Santana prefers to think of his guitar's luminosity as a direct link to a higher power.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Santana (Columbia, 1969); Abraxas (Columbia, 1970); Santana III (Columbia, 1971); Caravanserai (Columbia, 1972); Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles Live! (Columbia, 1972); Love, Devotion, Surrender (Columbia, 1973); Lotus (Columbia, 1975); Moonflower (Columbia, 1977); Zebop (Columbia, 1981); Havana Moon (Columbia, 1983); Freedom (Columbia, 1987); Blues for Salvador (Columbia, 1987); Spirits Dancing in the Flesh (Columbia, 1990); Milagro (Polydor, 1992); Sacred Fire (Polydor, 1993); Santana Brothers (Polygram, 1994); Supernatural (Arista, 1999); Divine Light (Arista, 2001); Shaman (Arista, 2002).

Spot Light: Santana's Milagro Foundation

Carlos Santana is an artist who believes that it is his responsibility to use music to help the world. In 1998 Santana and his wife Deborah, in response to the many requests that they receive for donations to help those in need, formed the Milagro Foundation. (Milagro means "miracle.") With the help of a board of directors, the Milagro Foundation uses funds secured from concert proceeds and individual or corporate donations to assist children of all ages who are deemed to be at risk or in need of supportive intervention, providing education, arts programs, and health services throughout the world. The foundation supplies countless grass-roots organizations (nonprofit groups functioning on a budget of less than $1 million) with stipends of up to $10,000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

M. Shapiro, Carlos Santana: Back on Top (New York, 2000); S. Leng, Soul Sacrifice: The Story of Santana (London, 2000).

donald lowe

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