Samba Pa Ti And The Guitar Heroes Album
I’d like to share my recording and video clip of the Santana classic guitar instrumental “Samba Pa Ti” with you.
I recorded it on my “Guitar Heroes Vol 3” CD and it was a real highlight for me, although, pretty much everything about “Steve Flack’s Guitar Heroes” was a highlight for me!
I put the Guitar Heroes together so I could explore the Classic Rock genre through the songs that meant something to me alongside the best guitarists and musicians in Australia.
Samba Pa Ti is one of the great guitar instrumentals and with it Santana invented the “Latin Rock Guitar Ballad” so I really wanted to record it and im proud of the end result.
Gordon Rittmeister on drums, Ron Philpot on bass and Matt Macmahon on keyboards.
Apart from playing with great guitarists I also wanted to film an interview with them because I was curious as to what it takes to make a great musician.
I haven’t stopped being curious about what it takes to reach the top shelf so I’m always reading biographies of successful people.
A Snapshot Of The Stupendous Sonny Rollins
I’m currently reading “The Saxophone Colossus” Aiden Levy’s bio of Sonny Rollins which is a great account of the life of one of the 20th century’s greatest musicians.
Sonny Rollins of West Indian parents was born and raised in Harlem, New York and he’s maybe the quintessential product of the Harlem Renaissance, growing up with all that creative energy around him.
While Manhattan is said to be the financial and cultural capital of the world Harlem, at the northern end of Manhattan island, was mostly black and poor but that didn’t stop Harlem producing some of the greatest music of its day.
Like Paris a few generations earlier it was a hotbed of creativity.
In reading Aiden Levy’s bio of Sonny Rollins the picture that emerges of Sonny is one of a driven musical powerhouse with a huge work ethic and discipline.
Having grown up in Harlem music was all around and some of the best musicians in the world were playing regularly in New York so Sonny could hear the greats anytime.
He followed his idols Coleman Hawkins and Louis Jordan and aimed at playing at that standar
The Saxophone Greats
The saxophone was invented in the 1840’s by Adolphe Sax so it was a relatively new instrument when Sonny took it up.
The real trailblazers for the saxophone were Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and in the next generation Charlie Parker. Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter would build on the earlier innovations.
With the saxophone’s big, powerful and attractive sound it was only natural that it should be the lead instrument in a lot of bands.
As a guitar player I would be jealous of the saxophone and its tradition.
It boasted big personalities like Hawkins, Young, Charlie Parker, Coltrane and Sonny with an incredibly impressive recorded output and an embarrassment of riches when it comes to classic and “all time great” recordings.
But sometimes we don’t see the wood for the trees.
The Guitar And The Big 3 Brits…
Of course the guitar has its big personalities, monster players and classic recordings.
The 3 big Brits Clapton, Page, Beck and then Jimi Hendrix had a powerful impact.
I think Carlos Santana is also an important voice and like Sonny Rollins his is also a big story.
While in his 20’s Sonny Rollins began winning all the awards and polls as the greatest sax player.
He felt embarrassed by all the accolades and didn’t feel that he was the best sax player so he decided to drop out for about 2 years and practice all day long sometimes up to 16 hours a day.
His wife supported him so he could develop his playing but living in an apartment and with the sax being such a loud instrument he would go to the Williamsburg Bridge so as not to disturb his neighbours and practice.
The building he lived in is now called “The Rollins” and there is a move to rename the bridge “The Sonny Rollins Williamsburg Bridge”.
Sonny not only worked on his playing he believed he should also work on himself.
He kept physically fit and read widely and extensively.
Like Jules Verne, Einstein, Debussy and other creative and inventive minds he became a Rosicrucian.
He studied Buddhism and practiced Yoga even travelling to India to study Yoga at an advanced level.
Carlos Santana had a similar kind of journey with his music and there is actually a saxophone connection to Samba Pa Ti.
After playing at Woodstock Santana gained international celebrity and tells how after the bands first European tour they came back to America and from his hotel room in N.Y. he could hear great saxophone playing from the street below.
He looked out the window and saw a sax player busking.
He was obviously drug affected but playing beautifully.
Carlos wondered what life had been like for this talented musician to have led him to such a state.
Samba Pa Ti is Santana’s impression of what that sax busker was playing that day.
So Samba Pa Ti was influenced by the saxophone and like the the sax, the electric guitar is a fairly recent invention and with the developments in amps and sound production in the 60’s the electric guitar was going to the lead instrument in a Rock band and Samba Pa Ti is a great vehicle for the guitar.
I hope you enjoy!