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Jimi Hendrix spent a decade playing with numerous renowned musicians. Initially, from 1962 to 1966, Hendrix served as a backing musician for icons like Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, King Curtis, Curtis Knight, and other Black performers on the legendary Chitlin Circuit.

Later, as a leader of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and subsequently the Band of Gypsys from 1966 to 1970, Jimi Hendrix collaborated with great musicians such as Stephen Stills, Lonnie Youngblood, Johnny Winter, Eric Burdon, and even had a memorable performance on “Killing Floor” with Cream, almost jeopardizing Eric Clapton’s career.

Jimi Hendrix would have ventured into collaborations with many more artists, including plans for a legendary jazz exploration with the jazz king, Miles Davis, if not for his premature death. When Jimi Hendrix was the rock star, during the late ’60s, many other renewed artists wanted a “piece of Jimi.” Whether jamming or recording in the studio, witnessing the guitar king live was a desire. This article explores the intersecting paths of the two guitar legends, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana.


When Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana First Met


The relationship between Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana dates back to times preceding Woodstock and Berkeley. According to Carlos Santana, they were already acquainted during the San Francisco days, and there was even a familily connection. In an interview published by Alt 98.7, Carlos Santana shared:

I’ve always felt a tight connection with Hendrix, whom I met in the late-’60s in San Francisco. Jimi and I, we went together for a long, long time, and his father came to my house, and I miss them. Y’know, I miss Jimi’s father, and I miss Jimi terribly.

“I first saw him play at the San Francisco Fairgrounds, but we never really talked until later,”

He was very generous to me, saying I had ‘a nice choice of notes’. At that time I was still a chicken coming out of the egg of B B King and listening to Gabor Szabo, Mike Bloomfield and Kenny Burrell.


Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana Shared the Stage at Woodstock


In the iconic Woodstock festival of 1969, the stage witnessed the convergence of two legendary guitarists, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana.

Santana’s Woodstock debut was a captivating preview of their soon-to-be-released debut album. The set kicked off with the instrumental “Waiting,” showcasing the band’s tight musicianship, especially with Gregg Rolie’s keyboard setting the groove. Despite a minor hiccup in Carlos Santana’s powerful guitar solo during “Evil Ways” due to a hallucinogenic experience, the audience responded with polite applause.

The performance featured Rolie’s announcement, an energetic rendition of “Savor” with a drum solo by Michael Shrieve, and the enthralling “Jingo.” Throughout the set, the band’s unity and joy were palpable, reaching a climax with the triumphant “Soul Sacrifice,” marked by memorable solos, including Shrieve’s iconic drum solo and Santana’s spectacular work on his Gibson SG. The audience’s enthusiastic response prompted an encore with “Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries,” leaving them amazed and appreciative.

Jimi Hendrix’s highly anticipated Woodstock performance with his new band, Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, unfolded on Monday morning for a much-reduced audience of around 40,000. Despite the smaller crowd, it became one of the century’s most legendary performances. Beginning with the new song “Message To The Universe,” Jimi Hendrix and the band showcased their prowess, prominently featuring his white Fender Stratocaster.

The set included a mix of familiar and unreleased songs, such as an energetic rendition of “Spanish Castle Magic.” While facing guitar issues in “Red House,” the set continued with crowd-pleasers like “Foxey Lady” and introduced new material, including the intricate instrumental “Beginning” and the anti-war anthem “Izabella.” Jimi Hendrix concluded with a masterful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” conveying the turbulent times.

The performance ended with classics like “Purple Haze” and the mournful “Villanova Junction,” leaving an enduring mark on Woodstock history.


Carlos Santana Saw Jimi Hendrix Show at Berkeley, 1970


Carlos Santana would find himself crossing paths with Jimi Hendrix once again, this time not as a fellow musician but as an attentive spectator—or better yet, as a fan!

Reflecting on the Berkeley shows, Santana likened Jimi Hendrix performance to the profound artistry of John Coltrane. He observed that very few could play both fast and deep, a quality shared by Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and Jimi Hendrix. Despite backstage interactions, Santana found it difficult to have a deep conversation with Jimi Hendrix due to the distracting presence of others, aka Devon Wilson, the “Dolly Dagger”!

Backstage, a sense of calm hung in the air, but only just. Jimi Hendrix companion for the evening, Devon Wilson, seemed to be inspecting everyone. According to Carlos Santana, there was a vibe of “lady swapping” at the time, with Devon taking charge of checking the rounds. Santana, feeling awkward, retreated to a corner, expressing a desire to engage in a meaningful conversation with Jimi Hendrix amid the chaotic scene. However, he found it challenging given the unfolding circumstances.

In a 2010 interview with Punto Digital, Carlos Santana paid tribute to Jimi Hendrix, recognizing the ’60s as a leap in human consciousness. He highlighted figures like Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Che Guevara, and Mother Teresa, who led a revolution of conscience. Santana drew parallels between revolutionary themes in music by artists like the Beatles, the Doors, and Jimi Hendrix and the vibrant, revolutionary art of Dalí, emphasizing the importance for today’s youth to explore such transformative experiences for self-discovery.




Did Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana Ever Meet?

Yes, in an interview with alt 98.7, Carlos Santana revealed a tight connection with Jimi Hendrix. They met in the late ’60s in San Francisco, spent a significant time together, and even had Jimi’s father visit Carlos Santana’s house.


Who Were Carlos Santana’s Favorite Guitarists During the Late 1960s?

Back in the late 1960s, Carlos Santana, the legendary guitarist, found himself immersed in a vibrant tapestry of musical influences. Picture this: the soulful vibes of Ritchie Valens, whose timeless tunes resonated with Santana’s budding passion for the guitar. Then there was the blues maestro B. B. King, whose emotive playing style struck a chord in Santana’s musical heart.

In the realm of jazz, the innovative sounds of Gábor Szabó added a touch of complexity to Santana’s musical journey, showcasing a fusion of genres that hinted at the guitarist’s future explorations. Mike Bloomfield, with his bluesy prowess from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, brought another layer to Santana’s musical palette.

Yet, amidst this diverse symphony of influences, one name shone brighter than the rest—Jimi Hendrix. Santana couldn’t help but be captivated by Jimi Hendrix’s groundbreaking approach to the guitar. Hendrix wasn’t just a musician; he was a sonic pioneer, seamlessly blending blues, rock, and psychedelia into a revolutionary sound.


Who Did Jimi Hendrix Consider His Favorite Guitarists?

In his prime, Jimi Hendrix acknowledged three guitarists whom he considered the best in the world and his favorites: Terry Kath, Rory Gallagher, and Billy Gibbons. Hendrix’s humility was evident when he deflected the title of the greatest guitarist, suggesting that people should ask Rory Gallagher instead. Despite various speculations, it’s widely known that Jimi Hendrix shared a close and enduring friendship with Billy Gibbons, who he admired for his audacity and nerve in their initial meeting. Hendrix’s appreciation for these guitarists sheds light on his diverse musical influences and the unique qualities he valued in fellow musicians.


Did You Know This 10 Jimi Hendrix Woodstock Facts?

  1. Temporary Band Formation: The Woodstock stage saw Jimi Hendrix with a makeshift ensemble called Gypsy Suns and Rainbows, a departure from his usual band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
  2. Unique Inclusion of Second Guitarist: Larry Lee, a rare addition to a Jimi Hendrix lineup, contributed to the set with solo and lead work, adding a distinct flavor to the performance.
  3. Morning Headliner: Notably, this was the only major morning performance by Jimi Hendrix, who typically headlined in the evening.
  4. Reduced Audience: Contrary to expectations, only a fraction of the initial half-million-strong crowd remained when Jimi Hendrix commenced his set at 9 a.m.
  5. Pre-Performance Challenges: Rehearsal recordings indicated a potential disaster, revealing difficulties in the band’s cohesion. Yet, Hendrix’s stage presence turned the tables.
  6. Diverse Lineup: Unlike the predominantly white lineup of The Experience, Gypsy Suns and Rainbows featured more black musicians, reflecting a shift in Hendrix’s ensemble.
  7. Medley Magic: The rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” wasn’t a standalone piece but part of a comprehensive medley lasting over half an hour.
  8. Prior Anthem Performances: Contrary to popular belief, Woodstock wasn’t Hendrix’s first rendition of the national anthem. He had performed it almost 50 times before, making the Woodstock version among the most iconic.
  9. Rare Encore: Hendrix, known for avoiding encores, surprised the dwindling Woodstock crowd with a rare performance of “Hey Joe.”
  10. Unexpected Closer: Initially, Woodstock organizer Michael Lang envisioned Roy Rogers closing the festival. However, Hendrix stepped in, forever solidifying his place in Woodstock history.




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