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Carlos Santana: 1947—: Rock Guitarist Biography

Played Clubs In Tijuana, Influenced By Fusion Jazz

Carlos Santana: 1947—: Rock guitarist.

One of the great musical boundary crossers of the twentieth century, Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana was a central figure in the growth of rock music as a serious art form in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Santana blended rock and blues guitar styles with Latin rhythms, and later experimental jazz influences, to create a compelling hybrid that was both commercially and artistically successful. Both a major musical innovator and (at times) a musician motivated by spirituality, Santana nevertheless always kept close to the down-to-earth roots of his music. "These are the ingredients for being a complete communicator," he told Guitar Player. "Soul, heart, mind, body, cojones. One note."

Carlos Santana was born in the small Mexican town of Autlán de Navarro, in the state of Jalisco, on July 20, 1947. His father, José, was a violinist in a Mexican mariachi band and had a regional reputation. Even before the family's 1955 move to Tijuana, on the California border, Santana was sure of his place in the world. "I read books about how people in their thirties or forties are just beginning to find out what their purpose in life is," he told Guitar Player. "I found that out when I was five years old." Of course, living the musically rich borderlands focused his aims as he encountered a mix of American rock and roll sounds, from such artists as Little Richard, with traditional Mexican rhythms. Santana started out on the violin but soon switched to guitar.

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