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 Carlos Santana

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MessageSujet: Carlos Santana    Carlos Santana  Icon_minitimeLun 12 Juil 2010 - 19:30

Memories of the voodoo child

Carlos Santana is one of the host of top names contributing to a new Jimi Hendrix tribute album. He talks to Phil Johnson about the man, the myth and the music


Wednesday, 2 June 2004

Despite his unimpeachable status as the ultimate guitar hero, one still gets the feeling that Jimi Hendrix (1942-70) is more talked about than actually listened to - that his music is less influential than his sound. That is entirely understandable, for how can mere songs hope to compete with the dazzling shock effects of Hendrix's revolutionary guitar-playing, that blur of smeared notes with burring, live-wire electricity? Once heard, it's never to be forgotten, but that doesn't mean that you want to hear it very often. The songs that stick in the memory are also so iconic that cover versions by other artists (and many of Hendrix's best performances, such as "Hey Joe" or "All along the Watchtower" were covers themselves) have little chance of success.

Despite his unimpeachable status as the ultimate guitar hero, one still gets the feeling that Jimi Hendrix (1942-70) is more talked about than actually listened to - that his music is less influential than his sound. That is entirely understandable, for how can mere songs hope to compete with the dazzling shock effects of Hendrix's revolutionary guitar-playing, that blur of smeared notes with burring, live-wire electricity? Once heard, it's never to be forgotten, but that doesn't mean that you want to hear it very often. The songs that stick in the memory are also so iconic that cover versions by other artists (and many of Hendrix's best performances, such as "Hey Joe" or "All along the Watchtower" were covers themselves) have little chance of success.

So what are we to make of a new tribute album, prepared for release by Hendrix's family and their Experience Hendrix foundation? Power of Soul: a tribute to Jimi Hendrix aims to highlight Hendrix's art in the context of rhythm and blues rather than rock, bringing together versions of his songs by Prince, Lenny Kravitz, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Earth Wind and Fire, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Musiq, John Lee Hooker, Sting and Sounds of Blackness, among others. "A lot of the tribute albums that have come out have concentrated on Jimi's rock side," says his half-sister Janie Hendrix, the president of Experience Hendrix. "This is really more of the soul, R&B feel. He was in Chitlin' Circuit bands and played with Diana Ross, the Isley Brothers and Little Richard, so I'm trying to shine that light, too."

That the project was able to call on so many big-name stars shows the high regard in which Hendrix is still held by his peers, and the strong sense of obligation felt to his surviving family (the voice of Jimi's father, Al, opens the album with a short speech thanking everyone for their participation). Santana, whose track, "Spanish Castle Magic", features the bassist Stanley Clarke and the great Miles Davis drummer Tony Williams (who has died since the recording), talks to me about Jimi Hendrix.

"To me, Jimi Hendrix is like John Coltrane or Bob Marley or Miles Davis," he says. "He belongs to a group, the Beethovens, the Stravinskys, the Picassos, people who transcend trends or fashions or anything like that - they are all like Da Vincis to me." His voice has a strong Mexican accent, even though he moved from Tijuana to San Francisco in 1961, when he was 14. "I'm very honoured that I met Jimi Hendrix, and also that I got to play with Tony Williams, who was the Jimi Hendrix of the drums. I very seldom play Hendrix's music, because I respect him a lot, but in this case I couldn't say no, because I've known the Hendrix family for a long time. So I said yes and I'm very happy."

It was at the Woodstock festival in 1969, where Hendrix performed his famous version of "The Star-Spangled Banner", that the group Santana (which had begun as the Santana Blues Band in 1966) made its first breakthrough. By then, Carlos had already met Hendrix. "I first saw him play at the San Francisco Fairgrounds, but we never really talked until later," he says. "He was very generous to me, saying I had 'a nice choice of notes'. At that time I was still a chicken coming out of the egg of B B King and listening to Gabor Szabo, Mike Bloomfield and Kenny Burrell. Their music taught me that you can still play the blues but be multi-dimensional at the same time. You can be playing the blues but hear the Pyramids, South America or anything, like when you play for 10 hours and start to play music where everything fits. It's like discovering a vortex, like John Coltrane did, finding a key that opens all the rooms in the hotel on all the floors, and Jimi had that, the key for every floor..."

For Santana, Hendrix was complete in all respects but one. "He had everything - he had the vision, the mentality and the will. What he didn't have was the self- discipline, like Wayne Shorter or John Coltrane. His problem was, he didn't have the right person, the right woman, to say: 'Put this aside,' or: 'What do you see yourself doing 20 years from now?'

"He had the responsibility of being black and of having been in the army, but he didn't have anyone telling him to keep things in perspective," he says. "It's like if you start thinking you're God then find yourself going to the bathroom, you soon discover that you're a human being all the time and only a god sometimes. You need people to tell you when you're too coked-out to play."

Santana was able to see that Hendrix, in the latter part of a solo career that lasted for only five tumultuous years, was suffering. "He was in Berkeley and I saw him, and I could see he needed something he wasn't getting. Sometimes you need to step back from a circle of friends and habits - as Coltrane and Miles did - into a period of just crystallising your existence. Otherwise, you become a performing monkey: everyone gives you more cocaine and says you play like God, but one night you play like a genius and then the next night you suck. It's like Coltrane or Wayne Shorter or Herbie Hancock. Few musicians take the time to crystallise their existence. Hendrix took LSD, like I did, but he never realised what I did: that this is what you do but it's not what you are.

"I think if Jimi had had the right person, she would have said: 'Let's go to Hawaii and get rid of Jimi for a week,'" he continues. "You need to crystallise your existence and achieve that clarity of vision. This is the word that separates human beings from gods: willingness. Most people don't have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims. And, like Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix or Marvin Gaye, they die as victims. But John Coltrane didn't die as a victim."

When I ask Santana what a young guitarist can take from the example of Hendrix, whose influence can often be an unproductive one, too reliant on flash and effects, he pauses thoughtfully. "Learn to play things that are from your heart," he says eventually. "You can take things that Jimi Hendrix took, from Curtis Mayfield or from Buddy Guy for example, because we are all children of everything, even Picasso. But if you want to stand out, you have to learn to crystallise your existence and create your own fingerprints. With one note people know me, or Eric, or Jeff Beck, or Jimi Hendrix. I would say to him or her: learn to develop your own voice. It's like someone said: if you take from just one person, it's stealing. But take from everyone, and it's research."

But Santana's ultimate guitar tutor is the blues. "If you can hear someone who sounds like they're crying and laughing at the same time, that's the blues," he says. "You can have all the licks you like, but if you don't have that when you play, I will not believe your story. Even Beethoven, I believe, is blues. In order to manifest the blues, you have to feel in a profound way, not just copy licks. You have to see birds, see clouds, create colours and emotions that we don't have names for yet, like Charlie Parker. I don't want to hurt artists by naming them, but some of them are about as deep as a spoon. They look good on TV, but the music is no good at all. Sonny Sharrock (the avant-garde jazz-blues guitarist) never got the credit he deserved - he scared me and he scared Jimi, too."

"Jimi Hendrix had a real purity of passion for the blues, and you can't fake the blues. Albert King, BB King, Freddie King, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Bo Diddley - if you don't listen to them, it's like cereal without the milk; pancakes without syrup. I don't want intellectual music without the blues. That's what gives it the flavour, like putting lemon on a fish."

Source : http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/memories-of-the-voodoo-child-730717.html



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MessageSujet: Re: Carlos Santana    Carlos Santana  Icon_minitimeMar 29 Sep 2020 - 15:08

UniVibes: You introduced Jimi Hendrix's step-sister Janie on stage at Woodstock II - is she a musician?

Carlos Santana: Not that I know of. I know she just wanted to get something off her chest and we allowed her the opportunity to do so, and we felt very honoured to share the stage with her. The whole sky was grey most of the time but when we got to that portion of the presentation, when she came onstage, it was like one of those Walt Disney movies where this brush appears in the sky and then all the sky turns from grey into golden pink peach, kinda like a cloud. We went 'woah', you know. And there was specifically one cloud that just stood in front and it looked like an angel - it had the wings and everything. Everybody noticed it, you know - this was all happening while she was crystalizing her views on where Jimi's music is today and what needs to be done for her to rescue the music from the lawyers.

UV: Are you friends with the Hendrix family?

CS: No. You know, I've been trying to make connection with them but... See, I'm the kind of person that would rather deal with Mitch Mitchell and Al Hendrix. Unfortunately because when I did the "Live Forever" album I didn't have the confidence that they would have the power to give me permission for what I needed. So, you know, I went with Alan Douglas. I feel in my heart that I can work with Alan Douglas and Al Hendrix and drink the water - I'm not going to get poisoned. And I'm not going to poison them so my business is clean. Whatever they have to do between each other I would encourage for them to solve it. If push comes to shove, I'm for Jimi Hendrix - I'm not for lawyers and promoters or anything like that. I'm for Jimi Hendrix's music to be celebrated. And also in my heart I would like the family to be vindicated and not be short-changed but be compensated. Being the musician I am it's obvious where my interest is at, which is with the family 'cause they're the ones that should reap Jimi Hendrix's energy.

UV: Were you tempted to play any Hendrix songs at Woodstock II like 'The Star Spangled Banner'?

CS: Thanks for asking this question, man. You know, Jimi Hendrix has a beautiful rendition of 'The Star Spangled Banner' from Woodstock...and we put additional footage like from the '60s of the war and the riots and all that kind of stuff and we were going to introduce... I was ready to say, you know, 'We have today with us Jimi Hendrix in spirit and uh, and in the flesh we have his step-sister Janie." But we couldn't do that because at the last moment the lawyers from Woodstock, they said they would be sued for millions and millions of dollars because they know about Alan Douglas and Warner Brothers... Can you imagine not being able to play Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock? Because of the, you know... So after a while I was getting fried because I realized that the business thing - the business world that Jimi Hendrix's legacy left - is very, very tangled up and I didn't feel like I had the strength or the notion or the energy to untangle this for him. So what happened was the whole day was like Jimi Hendrix was present a lot, you know... 'Cause we wanted to play that tape - we had already made it. We couldn't do that so we had to change gears.

We found out that Eric Gales who is a Jimi Hendrix disciple - I feel I can say that [laughs] - wanted to play so we invited him to play so the whole day was kinda taking on a Jimi Hendrix configuration for me, you know. And not until his sister spoke was I freed - I felt like Jimi Hendrix had me in a headlock for the first half of the concert and not until I heard his sister talk that I felt free. Free enough to say 'OK, that is done, now I'll play my music and I can feel more...' You know, before that I felt like a lake that has a lot of ripples - you can't see the moon straight, you know. And as soon as his sister spoke I felt like my mind was like glass... Sometimes before you hit a note, and it's a perfect note, you've got to hear it and feel it inside before you press on it on your guitar. And I felt like that - I felt very peaceful once she got her piece off her chest, and then it was easier for me to play also.

UV: I believe you met Hendrix two or three times - one of the times was when he was recording 'Room Full of Mirrors' and you've talked about that in other interviews. When were the other times that you met him?

CS: At the Berkeley Community Centre [30 May 1970]. I think those were the only two times that I remember. I saw him at Santa Clara Fairgrounds in San Jose in '69 [25 May 1969] but I didn't get to talk to him then - I still didn't know him. I think that was the best concert that I ever heard him play. He had supreme confidence that day. There was nothing in his mind about business of chicks or anything that I could tell because he just came out like Michael Tyson, when Michael Tyson would knock guys [out] in 3 seconds. There's a certain 'stance'. That's what Miles Davis said: 'I can tell whether a person can play just by the way he stands, you know.' He had a certain stance, man. He was all over that Strat and had supreme confidence, that's all I can say.

UV: Did you speak to him at Berkeley?

CS: Uh, we spoke very little because it was... It was kinda embarrassing [laughs]. No, it was embarrassing because at that time there was like, uh, 'lady swapping', you know, and his old lady [Devon Wilson] would, you know, check the rounds and he knew that she was checking the rounds so... I dunno. It was awkward for me - I don't know whether it was awkward for him... 'Monitor'! I used to call her 'monitor' because she used to say everything about everybody, you know. I used to say, 'I don't wanna hear anything [laughs]! I don't wanna know anything, I just wanna like learn about the music, I don't wanna know about the other "stuff", you know. You keep that to yourself, you know.'

But there was a family that we used to call 'The Cosmic Family'. And it was the same family that hung out with Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis - it was the same group of ladies. Uh, I won't go into names but it was like about, almost ten of them that just like... Uh, like moons, they would just gravitate around certain things, you know. That's why it was awkward for me. Of course I wanted to ask Jimi about everything and anything but as I say, with them it was kinda awkward...

UV: Have you got a favourite Hendrix song or album?

CS: I think all the first three are still my favourites like anybody else. The first three albums by Jimi - it was like being captured and put into a space ship and they take you on a trip and they bring you back instead of like jumping in a Mercedes or a Rolls Royce. I especially always like it when Jimi Hendrix would play the song and then he go on to, uh, Chainsaw Massacre Tazmanian Devil Aurora Borealis Galaxy - I like it when he start with the feedback. And I saw Stevie Ray do it one time too. I'm sure he did it many times but I only saw him do it one time were he where the guitar became like an Aurora Borealis and all this colours of sound were screaming out of it even though he wasn't putting his fingers on it. That's kinda like invoking ghosts or something and that's my favourite part that I miss about Jimi is when he would open up certain channels and let certain demons and angels dance together, you know what I mean - that it was beyond 'B' flat or 'C' flat. That's when it's music to me. Anybody can play music just like anybody can think. Very few people are conscious and very few people can do something beyond the note. So thank God that Jimi had that kind of spirit that...the foundation was the blues but he also was a very cosmic person [laughs].

You know to this day I haven't heard anybody... I mean, I heard a lot of people pick up what Jimi completed or he was doing but I haven't heard anybody complete it or really pick it up. Not only from the volume or the approach to the sound or the tone but the philosophy behind it... Jimi didn't just play like that because he could strangle a Stratocaster or a Marshall, he played like that because he saw it a certain way and he took certain things that made his spirit be stronger upon his playing. Otherwise, anyone could do it - you just pick it up, lift it off from the CDs, you know, or the records. No, you had to have some kind of thing like the Blues Brothers' mission from God or something, you know. But you have to have some kind of inner fueling, inner anger or inner passion, some kind of really, really emotional spill-over on your playing otherwise it won't sound like that even if he had the same amplifier and the same guitar and everything - it still won't sound that way. I crave to try to create an album that basically goes that way, more like Sun Ra and Sonny Sharrock and Jimi Hendrix, you know, with a little bit of lyrics and very little vocals but mainly the electric guitar and the Hammond organ and the congas. Tell stories of interplanetary or galactical or celestial time rather than just earth time. I think that's what Jimi Hendrix used to call 'Sky Church Music'.

UV: Do you know how many Hendrix live tapes you've got?

CS: No, but I have a lot. And I have a lot of friends that have even twice as much than I have, you know. It's amazing because most of this music comes from Indian reservations [laughs], of people who are doctors and medicine men in Indian reservations and the stuff that they stack up is just two people - Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, you know. So there's a big pool of things that are yet to come out, you know, from both.

UV: Jimi Hendrix's music has become very popular again in the last four or five years. Why do you think his music stands the test of time whereas a lot of people from that era don't so much?

CS: Well, it's because, you know, the principles of Jimi Hendrix and, uh... I'll say Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton and the Grateful Dead - they are people still here, you know, and they're here because the music was just as valid today as it was then. Music that is not necessarily to sell lollipops or trucks or beer or anything like that. You know, it's music to pick up hearts like a crane and put hearts in a different place because a lot of hearts, they're like in a swamp, you know, and guitars are like cranes to pull people's hearts from self-imposing misery [laughs]. How's that?! And then they put them in a place where people can fly and say... You know, I used to be a loser because I learnt how to play guitar from this person or that person, Sonny Sharrock or Jimi Hendrix and now I feel like I'm a winner because everytime I play in a certain place I can tell that I command the attention without having to be phoney or flash. In other words, the music of Hendrix and people like that wake people up to their possibilities. It's more than just dreaming about being a guitar hero. What Jimi did, the electric guitar was an extension of his goals and his goals were like to literally live in a world that wasn't screwed up like it was in the '60s. When every time you turn around Martin Luther King, or someone really important, was getting shot. All of Jimi Hendrix's music tells a tale of the '60s and also of the future. It's not just about Cherokees or black Americans or the blues. Those are just the pencils and the brushes. The colours and the emotions to me are stories that we can learn so we don't have to make the same mistakes.

Source : Univibe
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MessageSujet: Re: Carlos Santana    Carlos Santana  Icon_minitimeVen 30 Oct 2020 - 23:43

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MessageSujet: Re: Carlos Santana    Carlos Santana  Icon_minitimeMer 2 Juin 2021 - 22:24

Un de ceux qui a le mieux compris l'héritage de Jimi ?
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MessageSujet: Re: Carlos Santana    Carlos Santana  Icon_minitimeJeu 3 Juin 2021 - 20:42

Possible !
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