The (Very) Short-Lived Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock Supergroup

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Mega Nova at the Hollywood Bowl, Aug. 24, 2016

When Carlos Santana took the stage at the Hollywood Bowl on August 24, 2016, it wasn’t with his usual band. Instead the legendary guitarist was joined by some of the greatest artists on the contemporary jazz scene: keyboardist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and bassist Marcus Miller. Filling out the world-class lineup was Cindy Blackman Santana, Carlos’ wife and one of the most highly celebrated drummers in jazz and rock today.

The supergroup, Mega Nova, performed for one night only, and from all accounts the historic meetup was mega-memorable. Watch some videos below.

When the project was still in the idea stage in 2015, it was called Supernova but Miller’s addition knocked them up another notch. (Originally guitarist John McLaughlin, with whom Santana recorded in the ’70s, was also named as a member of the group, but he ended up not to be involved with this show.)

Watch them perform Hancock’s classic “Watermelon Man” and Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va,” popularized by Santana

Hancock was born April 12, 1940, and is considered one of the architects of the post-bop sound. Well beyond his work with such jazz luminaries as Donald Byrd and Miles Davis, he composed soundtracks for numerous film and television projects, and released several albums for Blue Note. Later, for Columbia Records, he earned big success with the 1983 single, “Rockit.” His 2007 album for Verve, River: The Joni Letters, became just the second jazz album to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

The very same quintet had already played together with thrilling results—at the Hollywood Bowl. In 2012, both Santanas, Hancock, Shorter and Miller appeared as part of a “Celebrating Peace” event.

Watch Santana, Hancock, Shorter and others performing in 2012

Santana has worked with both Hancock and Shorter before in other capacities. Notably, the guitarist and keyboardist shared a headlining gig at the 1981 Live Under the Sky jazz festival in Tokyo.

2016 was a memorable year for Carlos Santana. He released Santana IV, a critically acclaimed album that reunited most of the members of Santana’s classic early ’70s group.

Related: Review of Santana IV

Best Classic Bands Staff

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