Carlos Santana’s appeal extended far beyond his music as the guitarist’s peers heaped praise on the legend.
“Rock ‘n’ roll spoke to the young, and Carlos not only incorporated Afro-Cuban rhythms to rock, he was Mexican. And he was respected and treated as an equal by his peers,” said Ruben Blades, paralleling Santana’s success to that of Roberto Duran in his native Panama.
More than in previous Grammy ceremonies, the artist getting the bulk of the attention has a connection to artists young and old. Santana’s “Supernatural” featured collaborations with young artists such as Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas and Everlast.
Everlast went so far as to say that working with the guitarist was one of the highlights of his career. “He puts you at ease right away,” he said. “His vibe is the same no matter what.”
Chris Perez, widower of Selena and winner for Latin alternative, said, “I think I was conceived to his music. His influence on me as a guitarist is obvious.”
Several veteran performers believe Santana is only receiving his due.
“He deserves everything he’s getting,” said Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson.
“If it’s good, it comes around,” Phil Collins said. “It’s great he’s having his moment.”
B.B. King said: “He’s a great musician. Nobody that I have ever met in show business is nicer than he. A fantastic man.”
But it’s Grammy winner Tito Puente who has perhaps the longest relationship with Santana. It was his composition, “Oye Como Va,” that was one of Santana’s first major hits. “I say thank you Carlos Santana all the time,” he joked. “Every time he plays ‘Oye Como Va’ I get a nice royalty check.”