Selected by Dan Grunebaum


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 his debut.

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 24th.

Santana plays Tokyo Kokusai Forum Hall A on April 22-23 and Kanagawa Kenmin Hall on April 24.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana