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  1. #1

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    Listening to some Santana recently--awesome live album Lotus from the early 70's--not available for a long time.

    One of his best albums IMHO--great band who were heavily influenced by the jazz-rock of the era. Santana and McLaughlin had become very tight, and the relationship was mutually beneficial: Santana showed McLaughlin how to let loose, turn up the volume and put on a good show, while McLaughlin taught Carlos how to go beyond the usual structures of pop-rock and pursue a mystical vision.



    This is the height of Carlos' improvisatory powers and tone...not really jazz or extremely harmonically complicated, just great jamming in a modal fashion. One has to think that Miles was very influenced by what Carlos was doing at the time...his wah trumpet for instance.

    A more recent offering is Santana and the Isley Brothers. Pretty old school R&B with a Latin flavor. Not Santana's best work, by any means, but he is a great supporting player, and Ron Isley is just one of the great soul singers. The interplay between Carlos and Ernie Isley, who is no slouch as a guitarist ("That Lady"'s awesome wah solo) is very enjoyable.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I have Lotus on vinyl but haven't listened to it in years, and don't even remember if I liked it. I'll have to dig it out and have a listen.

  4. #3

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    Still going strong and seems that the elders of Marciac have lured him over here for this year's festival. Although I like the guy's work and admire his staying power, I doubt if I will be paying 55€ (full tariff ) to stand with 6,000 others for three hours in the heat of a Gers summer: http://www.jazzinmarciac.com/spectacles For the remainder of the programmation ( two weeks plus ) we will be seeing jazz in all it's manifestations. Great event with some of the biggest names in the business in a glorious setting.

  5. #4

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    Santana's one of those guys I have to be careful not to let how bad some of his more recent stuff is taint how good some of the older stuff was.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Santana's one of those guys I have to be careful not to let how bad some of his more recent stuff is taint how good some of the older stuff was.
    Kind of in the same ballpark. Part of it is because I saw that band in their prime both prior to and with Neal Schon and they were a big part of my musical journey. I had the same feeling about the Allman Brothers Band. My favorite Santana LP was and still is Caravanserai.


  7. #6

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    Always loved this track from the third album (IIRC).


  8. #7

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    I was a Santana fan for a very long time going back to Abraxas, his live Moonflower recording is terrific and he was definitely a trailblazer bringing Latin infused rock to the masses. Then he started selling out and was just selling his dorian riffs to anyone that would buy them. His guitar work was showing up everywhere and it was always the same sound, and then Santana brand clothing and shoes. I'm glad he made it, I'm glad he succeeded but really, keep growing.

  9. #8

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    I've been a guitarist and avid listener all my life to all sorts, particularly bebop and blues and hope I'm open-eared enough to get the beauty in stuff regardless of harmonic content, chops - Lightnin' Hopkins to Alan Holdsworth etc but.. I've never understood what some pretty eminent guitarists hear in Carlos Santana. The public love it, fine, good luck to him but guitarists?.. to my ear its all so poorly played - no time, just flurries, the same 5 or 6 notes, no vibrato, wasp in a cup sound, the fact that it's so simple is ok, so was John Lee Hooker's stuff but that still didn't sound like a kid in a pub. Great & successful band right back to Abraxus but what am I missing that guitarists hear?

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoniD
    I've been a guitarist and avid listener all my life to all sorts, particularly bebop and blues and hope I'm open-eared enough to get the beauty in stuff regardless of harmonic content, chops - Lightnin' Hopkins to Alan Holdsworth etc but.. I've never understood what some pretty eminent guitarists hear in Carlos Santana. The public love it, fine, good luck to him but guitarists?.. to my ear its all so poorly played - no time, just flurries, the same 5 or 6 notes, no vibrato, wasp in a cup sound, the fact that it's so simple is ok, so was John Lee Hooker's stuff but that still didn't sound like a kid in a pub. Great & successful band right back to Abraxus but what am I missing that guitarists hear?
    I have had many a similar discussion with some of my Rock and Roll guitar buddies; Yea, once one gets the tone down it isn't very difficult to mimic what he is doing and he mostly does the same thing over and over again. Oh well, he is very successful and there are some songs he has done that I really enjoy (e.g. the live version of the Zombies song She's Not There, kicks butt!).
    Last edited by jameslovestal; 03-13-2018 at 04:48 PM.

  11. #10

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    Food for thought-- the amount of distortion on Carlos' tone is inversely proportionate to the quality of the music he's playing.

  12. #11

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    It's like Les Paul said - "Can your Mom recognize you when your song comes on the radio?" or words to that effect. Santana, in a very early GP interview, said that when he practiced, he recorded everything and listened and tried to eliminate whatever did not sound like him. He worked towards "finding his own voice," which we now know was Dorian in outline and single notes in execution. Gobs of sustain were supplied by the cascading gain stages of the Mesa Boogie he was coy about (not) crediting at that early stage. Naming the truly fine percussion orchestra that was the core of the sound after himself didn't hurt, either. But he could really nail a certain emotional intensity, or a simulacrum thereof, that continues to speak to people.

    Carlos Santana is a savvy and talented instrumentalist who managed to carve out a place for himself in a savagely competitive field. I really like his stuff, especially the early work. Abraxas remains a personal favorite, but I did find it interesting to learn that it was the then-teenaged Neil Schon who was copping Peter Green's licks on "Black Magic Woman."

    There really is no business like show business. Except for all the others. Ka-ching!

  13. #12

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    Check out Frank Zappa vision of Santana, on Shut up and play yer guitar some more : Variations on the Carlos Santana Secret Chord Progression

    FZ solo on Santana chords
    The best of both worlds

  14. #13

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    Santana was a huge influence on me when I was first starting out. Unlike most rock guitarists of that time, his playing was melodic, tasteful, had interesting rhythms, and featured arpeggios mixed in with the blues licks.

    Like some others here, I felt that as time went on, he became repetitive and predictable and his tone got worse. And please, don't ever read an interview with him.....painful!

    The man has sustained a career for 50 years, and regardless of how you feel about his playing he always has great bands. There is some fine guitar work on his recent albums, especially on the latin/Cuban influenced material.

  15. #14

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    When I was in high school I admired Santana and wanted to learn his style. Abraxas was one of the first LPs I bought and I related strong to the exotic (to me) Latin percussion and lyrical quality of his solos that moved beyond blues and rock licks. And, he was immediately identifiable. I agree with many of the insights above especially as his career ossified into a narrow band.

    Interestingly, Santana put out a video about 20 years ago paying homage to his three main guitar influence, all of who are not whom you'd expect: Gabor Szabo, Bola Sete and Wes Montgomery. Here's an excerpt .....


  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoniD
    but what am I missing that guitarists hear?
    Its a great thing that we all hear and dig
    different music and sounds .... Its totally cool

    I gotta rant a little bit ! Sorry

    I love love love me some Carlos ...

    To me he's the most lyrical player of our instrument that ever lived ...

    To me .... his phrasing is gorgeous , sumptuous , passionate , animal ,
    a chant or a scream of a wild beast ....

    He singing out of the guitar ...
    Yes the sustain, the distortion
    the tremelo glissando stuff

    (By the way I don't /can't play that way at all
    I play a jazz box with flatwounds with a 15 top totally clean and try to play standards)

    and I totally get what you're saying about his flurry's of notes , re timing
    ie not accurate subvisions of the beat ...
    and you could hear it as a mess I guess

    But in another way
    its totally emotionally bang on (to me)
    there's lots of tension and release in the time
    /phrasing
    and it true to how we are
    and reflects us as humans ,

    I mean
    What's the most affecting sound you ever
    heard ?

    One that cut right through you like a knife ?





    A human or animal ... wailing right ?
    Modal stuff

    Soz rant over

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    It's like Les Paul said - "Can your Mom recognize you when your song comes on the radio?" or words to that effect. Santana, in a very early GP interview, said that when he practiced, he recorded everything and listened and tried to eliminate whatever did not sound like him. He worked towards "finding his own voice," which we now know was Dorian in outline and single notes in execution. Gobs of sustain were supplied by the cascading gain stages of the Mesa Boogie he was coy about (not) crediting at that early stage. Naming the truly fine percussion orchestra that was the core of the sound after himself didn't hurt, either. But he could really nail a certain emotional intensity, or a simulacrum thereof, that continues to speak to people.

    Carlos Santana is a savvy and talented instrumentalist who managed to carve out a place for himself in a savagely competitive field. I really like his stuff, especially the early work. Abraxas remains a personal favorite, but I did find it interesting to learn that it was the then-teenaged Neil Schon who was copping Peter Green's licks on "Black Magic Woman."

    There really is no business like show business. Except for all the others. Ka-ching!
    Well said. I love Santana's older stuff and what little of the newer stuff I've heard. I can feel something when he plays, and when that happens, I'm happy.

    He was one of just a handful of players for whom I wanted to buy the exact same gear and sound just like them. Mark Knopfler and Jim Hall inspired that urge. TBH, I still think about getting Jim's 1964 gear.

  18. #17

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    Put me in the "has become a caricature of himself" camp. I like hearing my favorites stretch out and challenge themselves, and he hasn't done that in a long time. But his earlier stuff can really get me going. Used to be I'd warm up on the afternoon of a gig playing along with his "Best of" album, not because my band was in that style, but because it's not terribly difficult yet still allows for tough passages and improv.

    I saw him at the Greek back in 1997, and I'll say this: it was one of the most enjoyable concerts I've ever attended. It was like one big-ass party, everyone was up and dancing, even my gal told me our son, who was seven months along inside her, was dancing up a storm.

  19. #18

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    Has Carlos played anything new since Abraxas? Just wondering?

  20. #19

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    I have strong fondness for early Santana right up until about Moonflower. I was 19 when I first saw the band live in 1970. It was a great time musically with lots of different types of music. But for me though it is less about Carlos Santana and more about the Santana Band as a whole. I will agree that Carlos's playing is/can be rather one dimensional but in the context of the early Santana Bands it worked. As a guitar player I like and enjoy technical virtuosity as much as the next player but it doesn't always equate to good enjoyable music.

    The comment above mine and not the snarky trolling post but the one about watching people up and dancing and having a party is what music is also about and it is really disappointing when musicians rag on other successful musicians on a musical forum. That doesn't mean one can't express or have an opinion.

  21. #20

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    I hear many guitarists say, yea that Santana stuff is easy man, just pentatonic, Dorian, whatever... But when I hear most of them playing in this style, they can do the scales, string bending... yea ok. But they don't have the right hand, not even close. Santana got amazing touch and chops, one of the most dynamic picker! One gotta realize that.

  22. #21

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    Too often these type of discussions end up being too binary. I agree one has to realize that; That being that 99.9% of musicians, artist, athletes, etc... have strengths and weaknesses. From Santana, to The Beatles to Grant Green, Joe Pass and, yea, even Wes.

  23. #22

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    I hear a lot of Miles "Bitches Brew" influence in that first YouTube above. Suppose only natural since JM was involved in both.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    Too often these type of discussions end up being too binary. I agree one has to realize that; That being that 99.9% of musicians, artist, athletes, etc... have strengths and weaknesses. From Santana, to The Beatles to Grant Green, Joe Pass and, yea, even Wes.
    It's up to you if you wanna focus on weaknesses rather than strengths. I personally subscribe to the theory of focus on your strength and ignore your weaknesses. I don't wanna hear Santana trying to navigate the bebop changes, as much as I don't wanna hear Joe Pass trying to rock'nroll. Thankfully, those cats had enough common sense to realize that too and excel at what they doing the best. Or, more to the point, every great got their own niche, and if they knew what's good for them, they kept at it.

  25. #24

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    What I like about Lotus is that it's a little while after Carlos got to be tight with JM, and you can hear the sense of exploration and, yes, limitations of Carlos on that album. But it's always enjoyable to hear a great musician try to push his boundaries, no matter what genre.

    I think he and JM learned a lot from each other, and I think Miles envied Santana's accessibility and popularity and tried to emulate him as he played to stadiums and larger venues.

    Here's what Santana had to say about Miles:

    The Day Carlos Santana Met Miles Davis

    Re' later albums his last really good album, IMO, was Inner Secrets. A little slick and commercial but still fun to listen to even to this day. He has also put out some good work in the last 15 years, and I agree I am partial to the Latin oriented albums--Shaman, Corazon, etc.

    I will say this though...when a rapper or female singer or pretty boy like Rob Thomas gets in the studio with him, it's pretty much a guarantee it will be bad Santana. Any singer not named Greg or Gregg should be banned from the group.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    I don't wanna hear Joe Pass trying to rock'nroll.
    I beg to differ. I would really like to have heard Joe try Crossroads or White Room or Layla or Purple Haze...

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    I beg to differ. I would really like to have heard Joe try Crossroads or White Room or Layla or Purple Haze...
    I guess that would be fun.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    I beg to differ. I would really like to have heard Joe try Crossroads or White Room or Layla or Purple Haze...
    Didn't J.P. do an album of Rolling Stone's covers?

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft
    The comment above mine and not the snarky trolling post but the one about watching people up and dancing and having a party is what music is also about and it is really disappointing when musicians rag on other successful musicians on a musical forum. That doesn't mean one can't express or have an opinion.
    Being a rock guitarist on a jazz forum, I understand that my priorities and aims for the music will likely differ from the majority of the membership here ... but my own goal in a rock gig is not to impress people, but to inspire them. And sometimes, yes, that means a two-chord vamp with little virtuosity and a lot of groove.

    That too is a skill to be cultivated. Carlos is damned good at it, and his music makes folks happy.

    <insert joke about guitarists changing lightbulbs>

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Or, more to the point, every great got their own niche, and if they knew what's good for them, they kept at it.
    Or, perhaps, found, and gave, pleasure in knowing they had their own voice on the instrument, even if the Guitar Gods™ might not approve?

  31. #30

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    By the way ... title cut to the last Santana album I thought was worth a damn. Chester Thompson on keys. This piece moves me as few do:


  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Didn't J.P. do an album of Rolling Stone's covers?
    You are right sir!

    The Stones Jazz - Wikipedia

    I thought I had at least heard of every Joe album, but never heard of this one. Will have to check it out.

    I do love that song Blues for Salvador. Yes that is a good album, and this cut shows why Santana is a master in his own way.

    Chester Thompson is a drum icon but I didn't know he played keys (a huge number of drummers do, though).