Carlos Santana Breaks Down His Band's Trailblazing Sound : Alt.Latino The original Santana made music history nearly 50 years ago. As the band reunites for a short tour this spring, the guitarist tells Alt.Latino how he and his collaborators did it.
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Carlos Santana Breaks Down His Band's Trailblazing Sound

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Carlos Santana Breaks Down His Band's Trailblazing Sound

Carlos Santana Breaks Down His Band's Trailblazing Sound

Carlos Santana Breaks Down His Band's Trailblazing Sound

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/474201279/474231172" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Santana's original lineup reunites for Santana IV, out April 15. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Santana's original lineup reunites for Santana IV, out April 15.

Courtesy of the artist

Being a trailblazer is tricky: Sure, you're recognized for doing something no one else had been able to pull off before. But you can also get stuck being "the one who first..." and struggle to stick around as more people try what you're doing. Carlos Santana has had to deal with both scenarios in a career spanning more than half a century.

As I note on Alt.Latino this week, he and the other members of Santana made music history between 1969 and 1972. This week, we break it down and show you, practically measure by measure, how the band's signature sound was developed.

But we also consider how the musician dealt with his status over the decades: adjusting, pivoting, embracing, turning away from and returning to that magic mixture of Afro-Cuban clave and blues. The original Santana lineup found spirituality in creating this music — and, now that the band is back together for a new album (Santana IV) and spring tour, it's still tapping into that sense of something greater.

For Santana fans, it's exciting — after so many years of looking back on classic music — to get to wonder what might come next.

Hear The Songs

Cover for Santana IV

01Yambu

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    Song
    Yambu
    Album
    Santana IV
    Artist
    Santana
    Label
    Santana Records
    Released
    2016

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Santana

  • Song: Yambu
  • from Santana IV

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Song
Santana IV
Album
Santana IV
Artist
Santana
Label
Santana Records
Released
2016

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Santana

  • Song: Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
  • from Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
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Song
Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
Album
Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
Artist
Santana
Label
Columbia

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Fleetwood Mac

  • Song: Black Magic Woman
  • from Pious Bird of Good Omen [Blue Horizon]
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Song
Pious Bird of Good Omen [Blue Horizon]
Album
Pious Bird of Good Omen [Blue Horizon]
Artist
Fleetwood Mac
Label
Blue Horizon
Released
1969

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Santana

  • Song: Se a Cabo
  • from Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
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Song
Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
Album
Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
Artist
Santana
Label
Columbia

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Tito Puente

  • Song: Oye Como Va
  • from Essential Tito Puente
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Song
Essential Tito Puente
Album
Essential Tito Puente
Artist
Tito Puente
Label
RCA
Released
2005

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Santana

  • Song: Oye Como Va
  • from Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
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Song
Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
Album
Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
Artist
Santana
Label
Columbia

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Santana

  • Song: Incident at Neshabur
  • from Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
YouTube

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Song
Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
Album
Abraxas [Bonus Tracks]
Artist
Santana
Label
Columbia

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Horace Silver

  • Song: Señor Blues
  • from 6 Pieces Of Silver
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Song
6 Pieces Of Silver
Album
6 Pieces Of Silver
Artist
Horace Silver
Label
Blue Note
Released
2000

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Cover for Santana IV

12Echizo

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    Song
    Echizo
    Album
    Santana IV
    Artist
    Santana
    Label
    Santana Records
    Released
    2016

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Santana

  • Song: Echizo
  • from Santana IV

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Song
Santana IV
Album
Santana IV
Artist
Santana
Label
Santana Records
Released
2016

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