Home » Jazz Musicians » Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana

Best known the world over for the group that bears his name, Carlos Santana has been reinventing and reshaping the landscape of the known universe's musical culture for close to four decades. A visionary artist with no regards for genre boundaries, Carlos' fluid sound long ago laid claim to the concept of "world music" before the term ever surfaced on pop culture radar. Having evolved and expanded for over four decades, the "Carlos" sound could well be on its way to becoming interplanetary music.

Born in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico•where there's now a street and public square in his name—to the son of a virtuoso Mariachi violinist, Carlos followed in his father's musical footsteps, taking up the violin at the age of five. It was when his family moved to Tijuana several years later, however, that Santana began his lifelong relationship with the instrument that would make him a musical icon•-the guitar. Early on he emulated his heroes•-John Lee Hooker, T. Bone Walker, and B.B. King•who he heard on powerful American radio stations when their signals crossed the border.

In 1961, Carlos made the crossing himself, moving from his native Mexico to San Francisco. A few years later, he formed the Santana Blues Band there, and the cool, soulful riffs and rhythms of his Latin-blues based sound found an audience eager for his innovative musical ideas. Carlos and company emerged as giants of the era-defining Bay Area music scene of the late '60s, and their fame grew far beyond its parameters while their artistry remained true to its free-flying spirit.

Massive success quickly followed. By the end of the decade, Carlos had played to packed houses on a cross- country tour, performed on the venerable Ed Sullivan Show, and made an indelible global mark with Santana's legendary, crowd-detonating performance at the original Woodstock festival in 1969.

He has not slowed down since.

A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Santana has sold more than 90 million records, and performed to over 100 million people globally. He has won ten GRAMMY® Awards, including a record tying nine for a single project for his 36th album, the blockbuster 1999 disc Supernatural. Now exceeding 25 million in sales, Supernatural's citations included Album of the Year and Record of the Year for the smash single "Smooth."

Most recently, Santana garnered a GRAMMY for the hit "The Game Of Love" from his 2001 album Shaman. Santana has also won three Latin GRAMMY Awards, and in 2004, he received the Latin Recording Academy's prestigious "Person of the Year" honor. His latest album, and third for Arista, 2005's All That I Am, continues Carlos' tradition of exciting collaborations with a diverse mix of fellow groundbreaking artists.

Read more


So You Don't Like Jazz

Top Ten Kennedy Center Musical Moments

Read "Top Ten Kennedy Center Musical Moments" reviewed by Alan Bryson

It's a good bet that most of us have heard people say they don't like jazz, or even worse, drop the H-bomb: “I hate jazz." If you choose to engage them, the key is to tread lightly and tailor an approach that considers their tastes and sensibilities. This So You Don't Like Jazz column explores ways to do just that. One particularly effective approach is to ignore labels and concentrate on the joy of music. To that end, ...


For Those Who Chant

Read "For Those Who Chant" reviewed by Peter J. Hoetjes

Luis Gasca was one of the hottest trumpet players in California during the 1970s, recording a handful of albums fueled by the drugs, the culture, and the excitement of that time and place. Though they all featured large ensembles, only one of them allowed some of the era's most legendary musicians to blur the lines separating jazz, latin, and rock and roll. “Everyone should have two favorite cities; their own and San Francisco," claimed Gasca. It was there, ...

Film Review

Santana Live At US Festival

Read "Santana Live At US Festival" reviewed by Doug Collette

Santana Live At US Festival Shout! Factory 2019 The Carlos Santana appearing at the US Festival in 1982 is not the same hungry street urchin transformed by the music he made early in his career with the band under his name. Since the galvanizing breakthrough at Woodstock in 1969, the group had changed with its leader, navigating through a jazz fusion landscape only to return, by this time over a decade later, to a more ...

Extended Analysis

Light of the Supreme: Carlos Santana’s Devadip Trilogy

Read "Light of the Supreme: Carlos Santana’s Devadip Trilogy" reviewed by Rob Caldwell

To the casual music fan in 1971 Carlos Santana appeared as if he was on top of the world. His band's appearance at Woodstock two short years earlier, plus their cover of Fleetwood Mac's “Black Magic Woman" had catapulted him to stardom. Yet, behind the scenes, his band was splintering. Different musical and personal objectives, plus the increased usage of hard drugs by some band members were getting in the way. By the end of the year, bassist David Brown, ...



Read "Welcome" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Once upon a time there was a guitar god who had grown bored with all his fame, riches and glory. He longed for something more than another multi-platinum selling record. He desired not simply acclaim, but respect. He knew to get it he would have to walk away from the distinctive style that made him popular and wealthy. It was a risk to confuse his band and his fans by making a radical change in his musical direction. But he ...

Extended Analysis

Santana Remasters

Read "Santana Remasters" reviewed by Doug Collette

The original Santana band achieved huge commercial success through the fiery fusion of rock, blues and Latin musics. As Carlos Santana evolved as a musician, he took the group into equally interesting directions with often equally fascinating results, even if those projects didn’t match up to the first three albums’ impact in terms of sales.

Listeners who found the guitar interplay between Santana and young Neal Schon one of the highlights of the third Santana album no doubt found the ...

Read more articles


Superstar Drummer & Songwriter Cindy Blackman Santana To Release New Summer Single "Fun, Party, Splash" Feat. Carlos Santana & Produced By Narada Michael Walden

Superstar Drummer & Songwriter Cindy Blackman Santana To Release New Summer Single "Fun, Party, Splash" Feat. Carlos Santana & Produced By Narada Michael Walden

Source: Glass Onyon PR - William James

The past few months have been a blur for Cindy Blackman Santana, who is currently touring and performing with her husband Carlos Santana, is featured as a vocalist, drummer, and songwriter on Power of Peace, the new Santana/Isley Brothers collaboration, and has been busy touring with her own band and recording tracks in the studio with the legendary producer Narada Michael Walden. Together through Walden's Tarpan Records label they will release the new single “Fun, Party, Splash” featuring Carlos Santana ...


Video / DVD

Santana Lands February 21 in a Captivating Set of Greatest Hits!

Santana Lands February 21 in a Captivating Set of Greatest Hits!

Source: Andie D'Avino

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Santana Live At Montreux 2011 on a 2DVD set & Blu-ray in a exhilarating set of jazz, Latin, funk, soul and rock 'n' roll. The 23-song show weighs heavily on the side of the songs that fans of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist (inducted in 1998) have loved over the years. Filmed in high-definition and recorded in DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM Stereo, it's a total jam-packed evening of ...



John Coltrane Radio on SiriusXM, hosted by Carlos Santana

John Coltrane Radio on SiriusXM, hosted by Carlos Santana

Source: SiriusXM Eric

In celebration of the legendary jazz saxophonist and composer's 85th birthday, John Coltrane Radio airs on Real Jazz from Thursday, September 22, the day before Coltrane's 85th birthday, at 9 am ET through Sunday, September 25 on channel 67. John Coltrane Radio will be hosted by Grammy Award-winning musician and Coltrane aficionado, Carlos Santana, as well as his wife, musician Cindy Blackman-Santana, Christian McBride and Coltrane's son, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, featuring the music spanning the jazz legend's career, including his ...



New Cindy Blackman Interview with Charles Blass (audio) On the Wedding Day of Cindy and Carlos Santana

New Cindy Blackman Interview with Charles Blass (audio) On the Wedding Day of Cindy and Carlos Santana

Source: Charles Blass

The following interview with drummer-composer-bandleader-producer Cindy Blackman was conducted on August 28, 2010 in Zürich, Switzerland at the home of her friend, event producer Michaela Fritz. Less than two months' prior, Carlos Santana had proposed to her onstage following a drum solo in Illinois, and she accepted. Today, December 19th is Cindy and Carlos' wedding day, in Maui, and we celebrate the union of two great artists with this previously unheard discussion. Among the topics are: Sonny Sharrock and Alice ...


Performance / Tour

Santana at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Santana at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Source: Michael Ricci

From the start of his Thursday set at the Joint in Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Carlos Santana made clear what historical moment he hoped to invoke, if not revive.

As the 11-piece group got the polyrhythms of Santana's early hit “Soul Sacrifice" simmering, images flashed across the large screen behind the musicians of an earlier, more famous rendition of the song.

It was from Woodstock, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Providing a thrilling end to ...


Award / Grant

Carlos Santana: Lifetime Achievement Award

Carlos Santana: Lifetime Achievement Award

Source: JamBase

Santana To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Santana Carlos Santana is set to receive a lifetime achievement award at the 2009 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

The awards ceremony will be held this evening (Thursday April 23) at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida. Other award winners include Spirit of Hope recipient Daddy Yankee and Hall of Fame inductee Pablo Raul Alarcon Sr.

The Billboard Latin Music Awards honor the most popular albums, songs and performers in Latin music. This is ...


Music Industry

Carlos Santana Wants Obama to Legalize Pot

Carlos Santana Wants Obama to Legalize Pot

Source: All About Jazz

Guitar legend says money for teachers, education would transform country

President Barack Obama brushed off a question about legalizing marijuana in his online town hall last month, but guitar god Carlos Santana says he wishes he would seriously consider it.

“Legalize marijuana and take all that money and invest it in teachers and in education,” Santana said in an interview this week. “You will see a transformation in America.”

During his online town hall on March 26, Obama fielded a ...


Performance / Tour

Carlos Santana on Playing Woodstock

Carlos Santana on Playing Woodstock

Source: All About Jazz

When Santana played at Woodstock in 1969, you already had your trademark sound, that piercing sustain in which you hold a single note for what seems like ages. How did playing with so much high-speed percussion affect your approach to soloing? The more somebody plays fast around you, the more you slow down and play long, legato lines. In “Jingo" [on 1969's Santana], we had that bass line and the conga going in that rhythm. I had to ...


Video / DVD

Carlos Santana & Wayne Shorter Live at the Monteux Jazz Festival DVD in Stores Feb 27th

Carlos Santana & Wayne Shorter Live at the Monteux Jazz Festival DVD in Stores Feb 27th

Source: Special Ops Media

Image Entertainment presents the DVD release of Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter: Live at the Monteux Jazz Festival in stores February 27th. In support of this release I have DVDs available for review and giveaway as well as video clip streams and other assets (press release, box cover, and photos). It began almost as a lark when Carlos Santana encountered his longtime friend and hero Wayne Shorter on the concert trail in Atlanta, GA, in 1987. Carlos said, “Let's start ...

Dende Macedo
Seth Okrend
guitar and vocals
Victor Samalot
guitar, acoustic
Gary Kelly
bass, electric
Walt Pitts
guitar and vocals
Jack Taylor




Jimi Hendrix
guitar, electric
B.B. King
guitar, electric
Eric Clapton
guitar, electric
Led Zeppelin
band / ensemble / orchestra
Ten Years After
band / ensemble / orchestra
bass, electric

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.