Salvador Santana stops in Vail Wednesday |

Salvador Santana stops in Vail Wednesday

Charlie OwenVail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado For each of us, stepping out of our fathers shadow and making a name for ourselves can be a challenge unto itself. But when your father is legendary guitarist Carlos Santana, stepping out of his shadow probably isnt enough. You have to move into the light, set yourself on fire and scream at the top of your lungs to be noticed. OK, maybe thats an exaggeration, but Salvador Santana, Carlos son, has some pretty big shoes to fill and he knows it. That doesnt seem to be slowing him down any, though in fact its inspiring him to leave his own mark on the world of music. As of right now the Salvador Santana Band is touring across Colorado with a stop in Vail on Wednesday.

Overall the music and the band has been well received by pretty much every venue weve played at and we can only hope for better things in the future, Salvador said.To bring an innovative style to his just-released, first full-length album, Salvador drew from the many advantages that come with belonging to a dynasty of musicians besides Carlos, his maternal grandfather is blues icon Saunders King and his paternal grandfather is famous mariachi violinist Jose Santana. Those advantages include being raised in a house full of music, inheriting industry connections and drawing from a fountain of knowledge his father learned the hard way. The self-titled Salvador Santana Band is like listening to Salvadors entire musical upbringing on one CD. The fusion of salsa, funk, R&B, hip-hop and rock doesnt come across cramped or forced, more like one big party recorded in a studio. Salvador said his goal was to put the listener into a positive frame of mind while listening to the album.We tried to capture, again, the live aspect of what we do, the energy that we do live, Salvador said. Its really been an awesome journey and Im just really thrilled and happy that the record is out and happy to be touring and performing the songs that we worked so hard to create in the studio.

Not content to kick back and enjoy his success, Salvador called the album an experiment and said hes eager to get back in the studio to begin a second album. He said that looking back, there were some things that he would have done differently on this album, but after talking to his father and other musicians, he realized regret is just part of the game; the important thing is carrying over the lessons learned onto the new record.Theres a lot of things that I could have done differently, Salvador said. Theres always room for improvement but at the end of the day, the most important thing is if youre happy with it. Which he is.The six-man lineup of the Salvador Santana Band consists of Salvador on piano and vocals, Emerson Cardenas on bass, Woody Aplanalp on guitar, Tony Austin on drums, Quincy McCary on keyboard and Jose Espinosa on the sax. With such a large band not to mention guest musicians (Carlos Santana being one), producers and crew was it difficult to get anything done in the studio?Salvador said it was a great effort but one that paid off.You hear it in the record. We had fun making it, everybody that was a part of it, and you can hear that in the music, Salvador said.

Finding his own voice and musical success was probably always in the cards for Salvador, but even he said that he only felt the calling as early as three years ago. Not to sound cheesy or clich, I dont feel like I chose music, maybe music chose me, Salvador said. Having to sift through all of the influences that have been in his face since childhood is no easy matter for Salvador. Learning from musics past and updating it for the present is just one way that he succeeds in borrowing from his inspirations without being labeled a copycat.Now 24, Salvador takes his work very seriously and keeps a level head and humble demeanor not what you would expect from such a young, talented and famous artist. He said he was brought up very close to his family and they instilled in him a love for music and life. Sure, being attached to a name like Santana has its benefits, but on the other end of the spectrum lies the constant battle for Salvador to prove himself to an industry and audience that has very high expectations. He insists that staying focused on his career and listening to his instincts is the only way he will ever meet those expectations.The only thing I have the ability to do is play music and play it from my heart and play it from my truth and have a wonderful band to back me up, Salvador said.High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or

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