Santana is a band consisting of a flexible number of musicians accompanying Carlos Santana since the late 1960s. The range of these artists has varied greatly. Just like Santana himself, the band is known for helping make Latin rock famous in the rest of the world. They have won a total of 8 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Grammy Awards which were all awarded in 2000. Carlos also won 2 Grammy Awards as a solo artist in 1989 and 2003
The band was formed in 1967 in San Francisco as the Carlos Santana Blues Band with the help of Tom Fraser. The first established members were Carlos Santana (lead guitar), Tom Fraser (lead vocals & rhythm guitar), Mike Carabello (percussion), Rod Harper (drums), David Brown (bass guitar) and Gregg Rolie (Hammond Organ B3). The group's first audition with this line up was at the Avalon Ball Room in the late summer of 1967. After the audition, Chet Helms the promotor, in concert with The Family Dog, told the band that they would never make it in the San Francisco Music Scene playing Latin fusion and suggested Carlos keep his day job washing dishes at Tick Tock's Drive-In on 3rd St. Suffice to say that Bill Gram saw a horse of a different psychedelic color and immediately booked the band to open for The Who's first ever performance at the Original Fillmore Auditorium a month later in October of that same year. In the following years the members of the group changed frequently for a number of reasons, and from 1971 to 1972 there was a brief separation between the group and Santana.
Santana himself rarely sings in his songs despite being the leader of the band and recent hits have been frequently accompanied by a guest singer, rather than the members of the band.
Santana's early success came with the debut album Santana, which helped to bring Latin music to mainstream American audiences, as well as the rest of the world. Shortly before the release of Santana they appeared at Woodstock '69 and gave a legendary performance, including an 11-minute long "Soul Sacrifice" that appeared in the Woodstock film and on the soundtrack. Santana next released their seminal album Abraxas (1970) to huge critical and commercial success. Abraxas spawned their biggest hits "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye Como Va" (both covers and originally by Fleetwood Mac and Tito Puente respectively). Santana the band lasted one more album Santana III, released in 1971, before they went their separate ways. Most notably Rolie went on to form the arena-rock band Journey.
Santana continued alone achieving significant success but never topping Abraxas, until the release of his comeback album in 1999 Supernatural. The album sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, winning numerous awards including nine Grammys, and spawning the massive hit singles "Smooth", featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty on vocals (No.1 for 12 weeks), and "Maria Maria", featuring Product G&B (No.1 for 10 weeks). It was his most successful album ever and helped to expose Santana and his unique blend of jazz-fusion and Latin music to a new generation of listeners.
The first three albums are legendary. They were followed by some good albums (Caravanserai, Borboleta, etc.) but the vibe had changed to more of a jazz/fusion vibe. Carlos was a guitar hero of mine. And Gregg Rolie played a phat, Hammond organ.
Amazon.com essential recording
Santana's 1970 follow-up to their Woodstock-propelled smash '69 debut found leader Carlos Santana further expanding his San Francisco group's already broad musical boundaries. To wit: two hit singles that emanated from opposite ends of the spectrum--"Black Magic Woman," originally written and recorded by English blues-rock guitarist Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac, and New York Latin percussionist/dance music king Tito Puente's infectious "Oye Como Va." Tying blues, rock, and salsa together in one pancultural package, Abraxas also featured such standout tracks as "Gypsy Queen" and "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts." The latter underscored the growing Eastern sensibilities of guitarist Santana. --Billy Altman
The first three albums are legendary. They were followed by some good albums (Caravanserai, Borboleta, etc.) but the vibe had changed to more of a jazz/fusion vibe.
I agree. I was knocked out by Santana's first two albums but my interest faded quickly as the band metamorphosed from a Latin percussion driven combo fronted by Mr. Santana's melodious guitar playing to a jazz/fusion ensemble. I actually thought Santana's third album was already jazz/fusion though.
I actually thought Santana's third album was already jazz/fusion though.
Are we hearing the same album?
I think Santana III was so great because of the addition of an extra guitarist (namely, Neal Schon). The harmonizing they did on that album was superb. I think that's probably why I love Thin Lizzy/Harmony lead guitar so much. The only reason I'd think you might think it's jazz/fusion-ish is because of the instrumentals. I mean, even Abraxas has it's jazz/fusion moments. I think that once the original band broke up the magic was gone (not to say that what came after III wasn't good though).