Man, it’s a hot one
Like seven inches from the midday sun
Well I hear you whispering in the words, to melt everyone
But you stay so cool
My Spanish Harlem Mona Lisa
You’re my reason for reason
The step in my groove
By the late ’70’s, Carlos was in a struggle with record companies – who wanted hits – and his own desire to play jazz or at least, much less commercial music in general. Rising above industry imperatives, he did a number of nice albums during this period. At the same time he was taking a turn towards spirituality which has continued to this day. His guru Sri Chinmoy – with whom he later parted company – gave him the name Devadip (“The light of the lamp of the Supreme”).
Even though he wasn’t churning out songs like “Evil Ways,” he was still making good, jazzier albums like Borboletta. Here’s a nice instrumental called “Aspirations” from that album. It still very much has a Latin flavor. But saxophonist Jules Broussard and bassist Stanley Clarke change the whole sound of the band. Not sure if Carlos even plays on this but I chose it anyway as it gives a nice flavor of where he was headed musically:
Throughout this period, Carlos had critically acclaimed albums such as the Grammy-winning Blues for Salvador and hit songs such as “Winning.” But it’s fair I think to state that compared to his previous success he was, relatively speaking, out in the wilderness. When the 1985 Live Aid mega-concert came along, Bill Graham had to again step in to “sell” him to organizer Bob Geldof.
It wasn’t until the late nineties when producer and record executive Clive Davis suggested to him that he record an album with current pop stars that the result – Supernatural – became a huge smash. Winning nine Grammys including Album of The Year, it returned Carlos to prominence, at least for a while. He continued to do these kind of albums with mixed success. Personally once I heard too many pop singers on his albums, I started to get a little turned off.
But the song “Smooth,” written and sung by Matchbox Twenty front man Rob Thomas is just about as good as anything Santana has done:
Another great tune from this album is the sexy, sizzling “Maria, Maria.” This one features an R & B duo known as The Product G&B who were associated with Wyclef Jean of the Fugees. (If you play the video, don’t be tempted to click that icon that shows up in the middle of the video or you’ll be hijacked over to an ad):
Carlos is still putting out albums and touring and as mentioned in the previous post, we saw him just last year in support of an album called Corazon. The place wasn’t sold out but he can still pull a pretty good crowd.
The good news is that the original Santana band – or most of them- reformed to record a new album (Santana IV). Can they recreate the magic? Well, here’s a cut from the album, due in April 2016.
The song is called “Anywhere You Want To Go.” Sounds pretty damn good to me:
I’ll definitely stream it when it comes out and hopefully the whole album will be this good. The CD’s I buy these days are few and far between and I’m always looking for some good car material.
And Carlos? Like anybody who has survived in the music field as long as he has, it is because he is remarkably adaptable not to mention tremendously talented. I can’t play guitar like him but it’s a tribute to his artistry that I (and thousands of other guitar players) continuously strive to.
In 1998, both Carlos as an individual and the original Santana band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.