Tuesday, 15 July 2014

santana's latin magic

After 3 weeks of Brazilian World Cup fever.. (it's OK, this is not about football) the one glaringly missing ingredient, and what some of us were tuning in especially to see and hear, were the cutaway shots to the Brazilian streets and crowds in full swing to the irresistible sound of the Brazilian rhythms and bands. But oh no. Nothing.
Surely the opening ceremony would offer the mesmerising beats and brass. But no again, we get a muffled speaker system echoing around the stadium with the usual club backing bump and J-Lo body grinding next to a girl who looked exactly like... J-Lo. It was all a bit strange.
This was not the hot Latin rhythms we might have hoped for. No brass blaring in the crowd, just a school girl like high pitched squeal every time a yellow shirt appeared to run with the ball, or fall over. Not Latin magic.

In 1970 a year after Woodstock, Santana played 'Tanglewood' which was for the first time putting on a series of rock gigs after the Boston Symphony had been installed through successive summers. It was one of the king of promoters, Bill Graham's great "Fillmore" adventures. After the huge success of the first gigs a further 3 dates were secured at Tanglewood one of which was a performance by Santana.
The film shot that night was to capture the band at their best and with the classic lineup that included Mike Rolie on keyboard and Michael Shrieve on drums. And then there were those percussionists.
There's probably never been a rock band since to have such a sound. It's hard to imagine how anyone could add these rhythms to a group and not end up sounding like Santana. It was genre defining.

The band were just about to release their second album 'Abraxas'. This track is 'Evil Ways' from their first, 'Santana'.
And if that Brazilian football team had half this rhythm to their playing the outcome to that World Cup would have had a very different conclusion.