Courtesy of UDO
With Latin sensations like Ricky Martin riding a new wave of interest in Latino culture,
it was only a matter of time until the dean of Latin crossover, rock guitar great Carlos
Santana, returned to steal the limelight. For three nights in April, Santana hits town
with his new album, Supernatural, and fiery guitar licks undimmed 30 years since
Santana - the name of the band formed by the guitarist - was born the Santana Blues Band
as part of San Francisco' feverish psychedelic scene of the mid-sixties. The group caught
the eye of legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, who began booking them to perform at
area concert halls along with local acts like The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.
With the release of their self-titled debut album Santana in 1969 and an
unforgettable appearance at Woodstock the same year, Santana's fusion of Latin melodies,
African percussion and American R&B made its mark on the history of pop music. The hit
"Evil Ways," and "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye Como Va" from
the follow-up Abraxas, spent weeks atop the charts in 1970.
After a third commercial triumph with Santana III in 1971, Santana disbanded the
original sextet and began to pursue musical projects of a more personal nature, such as
duets with drummer/vocalist Buddy Miles (also a member of Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies)
in '72 and fusion guitarist John McLaughlin (with whom he shared a guru) in '73.
In later years, Santana released sporadic material of varying quality, including the
introspective Europa, dipping below the horizon commercially, while remaining a
consistent live draw.
With the success in '99 of crossover pop acts like Ricky Martin, the stage was set for
Santana's comeback. Supernatural - marking a reunion with record industry bigwig
Clive Davis who first signed him in '68 - called upon a star-studded cast including Lauryn
Hill and Eric Clapton for assistance. His comeback was capped as Supernatural became the
best-selling album in the US, the single "Smooth" became a chart smash, and the
disc went on to win the favorite album award at January's American Music Awards.
At the time of writing, tickets were sold out for the 22nd show (Santana has even been
known to appear on karaoke playlists in Japan), but were still available for the 23rd and
Santana plays Tokyo Kokusai
Forum Hall A on April 22-23 and Kanagawa Kenmin Hall on April 24.