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Carlos Santana Discusses ‘Shape Shifter’

Carlos Santana
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Now into his fifth decade as a professional musician, Carlos Santana continues to defy expectations. After a decade that saw the most commercially successful albums of his career, his next album, ‘Shape Shifter,’ which will be released on May 15 on his own Starfaith label, is a mostly all-instrumental affair.

In a recent interview, he said his decision was inspired by the jazz legends who have long influenced his work. “I remember reading that John Coltrane would do one ‘Pursuance’ album,” he told MusicRadar, referring to a movement of his 1964 suite, ‘A Love Supreme.’ “And then he’d do a ballads album where he’d hardly play a solo – he’d just play the melody verbatim.”

Describing the songs as “loose sketches, and then closing your eyes and letting it happen,” the guitarist, known for being open in conversation, was perhaps a bit too forthright in discussing how works with distortion.

“You make some ugly faces and crank it up till it hurts and point it so that it doesn’t hurt the band,” he continued. “If you’re not making ugly faces — if your face is really nice and gentle when you’re playing a solo — you’re not doing anything. When you’re having sex and you’re just about to reach that point, if you’re not making an ugly face, you’re faking it.”

On May 2, Carlos Santana and the Santana Band begin a two-year residency at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. They will also play select dates across the country in July.


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