Son of Santana makes a name for himself | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Son of Santana makes a name for himself

Provided to Lake Tahoe Action

The place to hear music on the North Shore used to be Humptys. The name has changed but the venue is the same. On Friday, Aug. 31 the Saw Tooth Ridge Cafe presents the Salvatore Santana Band.

The son of guitarist Carlos Santana plays keyboards and his band plays a mix of hip-hop, jazz, rock, Latin and world music.

On Sunday, Sept. 2, catch the band Moonalice with G.E. Smith, Jack Cassady, Pete Sears. Barry Sless, Jimmy Sanchez, Roger and Ann McNamee at Sawtooth.

Salvador Santana likes to call the richly textured grooves he creates “a new blend, a sound reinvented. It’s a mix of all my favorite music, the best of what’s impacted my life, all coming together in a new genre.”

Citing mentors including Bob Marley, Thelonius Monk, McCoy Tyner, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Cobham, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, Santana adds relevant lyrics and hip-hop flavor to a fusion of those masterful influences. He further singles out the Minneapolis-bred group Atmosphere as a force that’s sparked ideas for words and music. Their free-spirited, poetic hip-hop and positive vibe are elements that indeed resonate in the SSB’s energetic flow.

Salvador Santana’s artistic chops are also, of course, colored by-and a continuation of-his family’s legacy. Salvador’s maternal grandfather was African-American blues pioneer, tenor and guitar legend Saunders King, his paternal grandfather is celebrated violinist and mariachi bandleader Jose Santana, and his father is 10-time Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Carlos Santana.

Salvador’s lyrics and inspired spoken word poetry reflect the gift for writing he shares with his mother, Deborah Santana, whose first book, the memoir “Space Between The Stars,” was published in 2005. The audio book version of the title features music that Salvador and Carlos composed together; previously, they collaborated on composing the Grammy-winning track “El Farol” from the 1999 Santana album “Supernatural.”

“I always dreamt of being a musician,” says Salvador, who experimented with guitar, but found his calling on piano and keyboards. “I’m honored to be a part of what my family has created, and to carry the torch a few laps around the course myself.”

On the lyrical end, he says, “Sometimes it’s even more intimidating following in my mom’s footsteps, because she’s such an incredible writer, and I have less experience with that than I do with music. But poetry is an escape for me, I love it.”

Born and still based in Northern California, Salvador attended high school at San Francisco’s School of the Arts, where he artistically connected with SSB bassist Emerson Cardenas. “He was at San Francisco State at the time,” says Sal, “which shared our campus, and his jazz band would come to play for us.”

Salvador went on to major in the Musical Arts Program at Cal Arts in Valencia. He broadened his experience with classes in Javanese gavelan, African drums and more, but kept his emphasis on keyboards.

SSB’s lineup also features Emerson Cardenas on bass, Woody Aplanalp on guitar and vocals, Tony Austin on drums, Quincy McCaray on vocals and back up keyboard and former Ozomatli player Jose “Crunchy” Espinosa on sax, flute, percussion and vocals.


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