June 13, 2024


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Carlos Santana’s story: guitarist was diluted at times by the special guests John McLaughlin and Eric Clapton: Video, Photos

I had had the opportunity to see Carlos Santana and his band perform as the final act at the prestigious ‘Eric Clapton’s Crossroad Guitar Festival’ held in Los Angeles, California.

Quite a presentation entertainment that had emotional and unforgettable moments. The personal brilliance of the extraordinary guitarist was diluted at times by the magnificent performance of his band and the special guests: John McLaughlin and the host of the evening: Eric Clapton.

By the way, my personal story in relation to the Santana band began in late 1969 or early 1970 when he was in his first year of high school. On the back bench, an extremely serious and distant classmate constantly banged on the desk with a rhythm that I soon recognized: it was the bars of Jingo, that piece with percussion that had appeared on the debut album of the same name by the San Francisco band. Francisco.

David Colín was his name, a dear friend of his, almost a brother. From that meeting, we lived many adventures, both personal, family and musical. He was the drummer of the first band in which I participated in the mid-70s: Super Lazy Blues Band, and well, also in the second, Los Buitres, where the main repertoire was The Beatles, but we also played various popular hits. ; among them a very successful version of Samba Pa’ Ti, I played rhythm guitar in those days. Shortly after, we saw the movie Woodstock at the International cinema, where Santana had a memorable participation.

The paths of life took us along different routes, but we always maintained constant communication. A couple of years ago, he stopped communicating, I looked for him and there was no response… through a message on Facebook I found out that he had died at the time of the pandemic. It was an extremely sad moment in my life.

Already in my new era as a musician, with Rhino Bluesband we had Black Magic Woman in our repertoire. Phil Daniels, leader, guitarist and singer of the band, performed it masterfully in the style of Peter Green, however, my participation on the organ was always oriented to the style of Santana, and then the result was a version with a touch of certain originality.

Santana and John McLaughlin at Eric Clapton's Crossroads 2023 - YouTube

‘Carlos. The Story of Santana’, is a very good and intimate documentary made by director Rudy Valdez, which begins with Carlos Santana himself asking a question… “Do you believe in magic?” And from there follows a musical adventure that goes from his formative years in Tijuana, Mexico, his formidable performance at Woodstock, his incessant and countless tours and his immersion in spirituality, culminating with his multi-award-winning album “Supernatural” in 1999. .

In relation to his early years, we see a young Santana grow up playing the violin, like his father in a mariachi, and with a fearless mother, while he was hypnotized by the blues-rock of Ray Charles, B.B. King and Little Richard. Musical taste that he developed after following Javier Bátiz and his TJ’s for some years.

In his adventure through the United States, Carlos Santana made tortillas in a restaurant in San Francisco in the late 1960s and was driven by his friends to the Fillmore to listen to the Grateful Dead and Country Joe and the Fish; among many of the groups that passed through the iconic place.

After he discovered him trying to sneak into the legendary forum without paying admission, businessman Bill Graham invited him in and gave him the opportunity to hear him play. At that time he was preparing for a presentation by none other than Mike Bloomfield, who told him He lent his guitar for the audition. Graham was so impressed that he invited him to play there and even open for some groups and artists such as: The Who, Steve Miller and Howlin’ Wolf.

His historic presentation at the legendary Woodstock festival was promoted by the businessman, thoroughly preparing them for other events from smaller to larger scale, so that in the end they would be ready to face the magnitude of the festival. Then came their debut album, fame and the hard work of touring. Until 1972 with the publication of his album: Caravanserai, he also began his foray into spirituality.

The documentary takes place between archival scenes with presentations, home recordings, interviews and more passages that illustrate the life of the musician, he himself gives course to the rhythm of the film, until reaching very important moments in his musical career. To his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and the publication of his album “Supernatural” in 1999, which won 9 Grammy Awards.

In short, it is a film that shows what a good musician with clear objectives, defined goals and a lot of dedication, can achieve in a difficult mission, in a world full of obstacles, prejudices, and other beauties that flood the music industry.

Elléa Beauchêne

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