Michael Shrieve And Vernon Reid Discuss Santana's 'Abraxas' : Alt.Latino Santana drummer Michael Shrieve and Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid give us the view behind the drum kit and illustrate the scope of the record's influence.
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50 Years Later, Santana's 'Abraxas' Still Changes The Game

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50 Years Later, Santana's 'Abraxas' Still Changes The Game

50 Years Later, Santana's 'Abraxas' Still Changes The Game

50 Years Later, Santana's 'Abraxas' Still Changes The Game

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/916762858/916834676" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Santana in 1970 (left to right): Carlos Santana, José "Chepito" Areas, Mike Carabello, David Brown, Gregg Rolie and Mike Shrieve. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Santana in 1970 (left to right): Carlos Santana, José "Chepito" Areas, Mike Carabello, David Brown, Gregg Rolie and Mike Shrieve.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Abraxas — originally released Sept. 23, 1970 — was a game changer.

Santana's second album refined the raw, Afro-centric energy of its debut, released just one year before, into a cohesive set of songs. It reflected the disparate group of music fanatics that was that first Santana band: guitarist Carlos Santana, vocalist/keyboardist Gregg Rolie; bassist David Brown; conguero Michael Carabello; timbalero/percussionist José "Chepito" Areas; and drummer Michael Shrieve.

To mark its 50th anniversary, I invited both Michael Shrieve and Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid to give us the view behind the drum kit and to illustrate the scope of the record's influence, respectively. We talk about making the album and the intense social and political environment that burnished the band's sound.

Abraxas was one of two albums released that year that played a key role in Reid picking up the guitar in earnest: "Abraxas and [Jimi Hendrix's] Band of Gypsys record were the one-two punch, for me, that really dragged me into the conversation about guitar."

Among the many monumental records released in the late '60s and early '70s, Santana's Abraxas stands tall not only for its musical innovation and vision, but also because, after all, it still sounds so damn good.