Today (April 15) brings the long awaited release of Santana IV, the reunion of the "classic" Santana lineup featuring guitarists Carlos Santana and Neal Schon, singer-keyboardist Gregg Rolie, drummer Michael Shrieve and percussionist Michael Carabello.
Santana clearly took the lead on organizing the project, but he tells us that it was actually at the urging of Schon, who went on to form Journey with Rolie -- and continues to lead that band -- after the Santana lineup split up in 1972:
"Neal is the one that very graciously, with a lot of innocence in his yes, he stayed on me. He seeked me out. It seemed like everywhere I went he showed up -- in a restaurant or a shopping mall somewhere...And it disarmed me. I said, 'OK, you're right, Neal. Let's do something but let's call Greg and Michael Carabello and Michael Shrieve. Let's see if all of us are ready to do this thing now,' and he goes 'Oh...' He just wanted to do something with me. But I said, 'Why don't we try the complete package. Let's make the call and see if Michael and Michael and Greg Rolie are ready,' so we tried that. And this time, as they say, all the planets aligned and it's a green light. We went and did it."
The Santana lineup has two more shows booked -- tonight in Uncasville, Conn., and Saturday (April 16) in Allentown, Pa., and is hoping to book more, although Santana will continue touring with his regular band while Schon will be on the road all summer with Journey and Rolie will be out with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.