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Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana is leader of Santana, a band whose music uniquely blends Latin-infused rock, jazz, blues, salsa and African rhythms.
Carlos Santana - Rising Star (1:51)
Carlos Santana and his bandmates played Woodstock having never recorded an album.
Carlos Santana formed the rock band Santana, and is still revered as one of the most talented guitarists to this day.
Bill Graham convinced Clive Davis, a Columbia Records executive, to sign Santana.
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Disillusioned with the heady, drug-addled world of 1970s rock music, Santana turned to Chimnoy's teachings of meditation and to a new kind of spiritually-oriented music, marked by a popular jazz album he recorded with McLaughlin entitled Love, Devotion, Surrender, in 1973.
Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Santana and his band released a string of successful albums in their unique style. Notable albums of this time period included Amigos (1976) and Zebop (1981). During the 1980s, he continued to tour and record both solo and with the band, but his popularity began to decrease with the commercial audience's dwindling interest in the jazz/rock blend.
Nevertheless, Santana earned critical acclaim throughout the decade, particularly for the 1987 solo album Blues for Salvador, which earned the guitarist his first Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Performance. He toured extensively, playing in sold out auditoriums and on tours like LiveAid (1985) and Amnesty International (1986).
Santana left Columbia in 1991 and signed with Polydor, releasing Milagro (1992) and Sacred Fire: Live in South America (1993). Though he ended his association with Sri Chimnoy in 1982, he remained intensely spiritual, especially during his live performances. In 1994, he played at the commemorative concert at Woodstock, 25 years after his band's transformative performance at the original festival. Under his own label, Guts and Grace, he released a collaborative album, Brothers (1994), with his brother Jorge Santana and nephew Carlos Hernandez, that was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental in 1994.
Santana's phenomenal comeback on the pop charts began in 1997, when he re-signed the band with his first producer and mentor, Davis, then the president of Arista Records. Davis enlisted a roster of prominent musicians among them Eric Clapton, Lauryn Hill, Dave Matthews, and Wyclef Jean to perform on the legendary guitarist's 35th album, Supernatural, released in 1999. By early 2000, the album had sold 10 million copies worldwide and spawned a No. 1 hit single, "Smooth," featuring catchy pop lyrics sung by Rob Thomas and Santana's Latin-spiced, electrically-charged guitar licks.
Nominated in nine categories at the Grammy Awards including Album of the Year (Supernatural), Record of the Year, and Song of the Year (both "Smooth") Santana won in every category. With his eight awards (the award for Song of the Year went to Thomas and Itaal Shur, who wrote "Smooth"), Santana tied Michael Jackson's 1983 record for most Grammy Awards won in a single year.
Santana followed up his award-winning album with Shaman (2002), which received many accolades. He and Michelle Branch won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals for the song "The Game of Love." Another interesting array of collaborators appeared on his next album All That I Am (2005). Santana worked with Mary J. Blige, Los Lonely Boys, Steven Tyler and others on this album.
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