The Death Whisperer Series

The Death Whisperer Series
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Carlos Santana & Four Bears Pinot Noir

Carlos Santana has long been a force on the guitar. No one packs more emotion into their playing than Santana. I first heard him when I saw the premier of the movie Woodstock back in the early 70’s and I’ve included a cut of Soul Sacrifice from that set. Santana’s Woodstock debut was the group’s coming out and plunged him into the spotlight.

Carlos was born in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico. His father was a mariachi violinist and at the age of five, Carlos too, was playing the violin. However at the age of eight, he switched to the guitar and never looked back. Javier Bátiz, a famous guitarist from Tijuana, is said to have been Carlos's guitar teacher and taught him to play a different style of guitar soloing, which he made his own as he developed his unique style.

In the late 60’s, he moved to San Francisco working as a dishwasher and getting exposure to a variety of musical styles. After several years of dishwashing and busking for spare change, Santana decided to become a full-time musician. In 1966, he gained prominence by a series of accidental events all happening on the same day. Santana was a frequent spectator at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West. During a Sunday matinee show, Paul Butterfield was slated to perform but was too drunk to do so. Graham assembled an impromptu band of musicians, with Carlos Santana as the guitarist. Santana's guitar playing and soloing gained the notice of both the audience and Graham. Later that year, Carlos formed Santana with fellow street musicians, David Brown and Greg Rolie, and with their highly original blend of Latin-infused rock, jazz, blues, salsa, and African rhythms, the band gained an immediate following on the San Francisco club scene. In 1969, the band snared a gig at Woodstock and the rest is history. 

Carlos remains one of the premier guitarists alive today. My favorite of all the pieces he’s ever written or performed is Smooth, a song that will start you movin and groovin. So get up and dance your way into the week. Enjoy!

To accompany Carlos and get your week off right, I suggest a 2007 Four Bears Pinot Noir ($14.00) by Sean Minor. It compares favorable with Pinot’s priced considerably higher. Cherries and spice on the nose with more cherries, strawberries, spice, and vanilla on the palate. This wine is a steal at this price. Wine Enthusiast rated it 91 and made it an editor’s choice. Trust me, you’ll like it. It’s smooth, just like the song.


1 comment:

Rick Daley said...

I love the percussion / beats in Latin music. Mix the soulful tones of Santana's guitar over that, and you have bliss