There are very few musicians who can expand on that vocabulary. It’s like a painter who only uses yellow. They don’t cover the whole rainbow
Let’s get loud
CARLOS Santana likes it loud.
He is fully amped, his new wife, Cindy Blackman, pumps up the volume, too.
Guitar icon Santana says: ‘‘ It’s great to be in a spiritual relationship and a physical relationship with a musician who loves music the way I do – loud and soulful, soulful and loud.
‘‘ We get into a car and the first thing she says is: ‘ Oh, turn it up. Louder!’ We listen to Miles and Coltrane.’’
Santana adds: ‘‘ Most wives go: ‘ Oh, my ears hurt. Can you turn it down?’
‘‘ That’s when I think: ‘ Oh, man, I need to stop the car and call you a cab.’’
Santana, 64, married Blackman, a drummer best known for recording and touring with Lenny Kravitz, in 2010.
‘‘ I’ve always been a gentleman,’’ Santana says. ‘‘ But there is another side to be completed.
‘‘ She is helping me clean my inner closet,’’ he says, then laughs: ‘‘ A lot of guys have a real messy closet, man.’’
Santana is also purging his pop radio side on his new album, Shape Shifter. It is an instrumental record.
‘‘ It’s an opportunity to tell stories with my fingers,’’ he says.
‘‘ An instrumental record is very easy for me to do.
‘‘ I get into a room with other musicians and say: ‘ Let’s go this way.’
‘‘ The other way – songs – is more like co- designing and co- arranging.’’
He says US promoter Bill Graham and record label giant Clive Davis convinced him to do both.
‘‘ I could play 10 to 15 grooves and overtures,’’ Santana says.
‘‘ But Bill and Clive said they were moods, not songs.
‘‘ I asked them: ‘ What’s wrong with that?’ And they said: ‘ Nothing. But if you want to get on to radio, you need a balance. They were right. It’s about equilibrium.’’
Santana enjoys both sides, from jazz, blues and rock instrumental pieces to pop hits like Maria Maria and Smooth.
‘‘ How can I not be connected to Smooth, man?’’ he asks.
‘‘ It’s one of the top songs ever on this planet. It’s like The Twist by Chuck Berry. Bigger than The Beatles. How can I not like that?’’
‘‘ I’m almost 65 and nothing is outside the realm of possibility. ‘‘ There are very few musicians who can expand on that vocabulary.
‘‘ It’s like a painter who only uses yellow. They don’t cover the whole rainbow.’’
Mostly Santana is grateful for a career spanning decades.
‘‘ My mother was on my case about it all the time.
‘‘ Every week, she would say: ‘ Remember to always be grateful because God made you and people gave it to you.’
‘‘ That always stayed with me.’’