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Carlos Santana & John McLaughlin: Coltrane in Common

An excerpt from Santana's memoir

Carlos Santana (l.) and John McLaughlin at the Berkeley Jazz Festival, May 1980
Back cover of the "Love Devotion Surrender" album: l. to r. are John McLaughlin, Sri Chinmoy and Carlos Santana

More than 80 discussions in a half-dozen countries took place with Carlos Santana in assembling his autobiography. His words, stories and personal philosophy revealed a man of continuous self-reflection and intense passions-one of the latter being jazz.

Through the almost two-year process, Santana cycled back to the topic of jazz often: his initial bias against it, seeing it as dinner-club entertainment that “didn’t have fangs and teeth and claws. I wanted stuff that scratched you.” He recalled his first forays: being turned on to Chico Hamilton and Gabor Szabo LPs; catching Charles Lloyd at the Fillmore Auditorium. He repeatedly credited drummer Michael Shrieve for getting him “to listen to Miles and Trane, [and for correcting] my twisted perception that jazz is only for old, fuddy-duddy people.” He talked about his enduring relationships with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and other jazz headliners, and about the profound influence these musicians have had on him throughout his life.

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