For the love of Carlos

Martin Smith writes…

I first fell in love with the music of Santana when, as a teenager, I heard the brilliant Moonflower album. That was “double album” that featured new studio material (e.g. a storming cover of The Zombies’ “She’s Not There”) alongside some outstanding live recordings. I had never heard anything quite like it and it blew me away. The pulsing latin rhythms, Carlos Santana’s trademark singing, sustained guitar sound, some great soulful vocals (from Greg Walker) and all-round great musicianship.

It was hugely influential on me – particularly at a time when I was making my first tentative steps as a guitar player. I soon found myself trying to emulate the notes and phrasing of Carlos’ playing. Because it formed an early part of my musical development, my own “sound” and “style” (in as much as I can lay claim to these) still bears the hallmarks of that early Santana influence.

All that said, although Santana material has often made its way into the setlist of bands I’ve played in, I have not, until now, sought to play a full set of Santana material and play that in the style of the great man himself.

I’m very lucky to have assembled a great band of musicians around me. There is my usual Martin Smith Band cohorts (Jeff Rae, Chris Holliman, Robin Atkins) and we are joined by a fabulous latin percussionist. Hailing from Cuba, Chino is an in-demand percussionist who’s work includes regular sessions at Ronnie Scott’s. Personally, I’m loving the challenge of recreating the trademark guitar tone and nailing those licks. We are very excited about our first live outing scheduled for Friday, 24th in Caterham. Details here: