Santana – Soul Sacrifice organ solo – with sheet music
(If you want to just skip the words and hear the music, click on “continue reading”, scroll down to the bottom and hit play.)
Several things on my mind tonight. This is the eighteenth “killer solo”, making the project 1/3rd complete. I’m in the mood to reflect a little bit… Of the eighteen solos, six are organ solos. As a kid I always enjoyed playing organ when I had the chance. It’s an electronic instrument, which is to most kids a lot more interesting to play than, say, a piano. I was a substitute/guest pianist and organist at church in high school, learning the hymns, playing Bach and stuff during the offering, and accompanying the young peoples’ group of high school and college-age kids for their musical productions, trying to slip in blues licks or bring a little of the funky, not particularly successfully.
One benefit of the killer solos project is that I have gotten a lot better on the organ. It’s not just a matter of figuring out the licks, it’s also working out the glissandos and the organ settings like the drawbars and setting the percussion that makes the key click or chiff sound, using the spinning Leslie speaker, and so forth. I’m also increasingly fascinated as I’ve begun to decode what these guys like Jon Lord did to bring the organ into their bands as a solo and rhythm instrument, achieving a sort of keyboard parity with unbelievable guitar players like Richie Blackmore (Lord), Steve Howe (Rick Wakeman), and so on.
….which brings me to Gregg Rolie of Santana. First, the guy is just an amazing player. An icon. Oye Como Va is one of my favorite songs ever. In my opinion, Gregg’s organ playing, replacing the horns of traditional Latin music, was vital to Santana’s breakout sound and success. Incredibly, he was also the vocalist of most of the Santana hits including Persuasion, Black Magic Woman, Hope You’re Feeling Better, Evil Ways, She’s Not There, etc. One more note about Rolie, did you know he was a founding member of Journey, or that Neil Schon was in Santana? Pretty amazing.
Now to this week’s killer solo: Soul Sacrifice. This is a not-very-widely-known instrumental from Santana’s debut album, Santana, released in 1969. It features soloing by Gregg and Carlos as well as by drummer Michael Shrieve and percussionists Michael Carabello and Jose Areas. It’s a very cool tune and it has very high replayability. Try it out and buy a copy from my iTunes or Amazon links or whatever. (I receive no money for that, by the way.)
What was hard about this: It’s long, like almost three minutes. There’s a very staccato part at 1:03 that I kept playing way too legato. Also there are these huge two-hand keyboard sweeps at 1:12 and 1:19 that took a while to figure out how he got them to sound so big and to get fluid playing them. There are also a lot of big eight-to-ten-finger chords and glissandos at a fairly snappy pace, and the ending, which lasts approximately forever, has some stops and starts that were tricky to get right.
Here you go, then, the big Hammond organ solo in Soul Sacrifice. I’m mostly in the left channel and Gregg is mostly in the right. The rest of the killer organ solos can be found here.
(Purchase the original on Amazon, iTunes.) See ya next week…
Here’s the PDF: soul-sacrifice-organ. I haven’t fully cleaned up the score, so the big, impossible chords are actually glissandos. Play along with the track and you’ll see what I mean.
Update: Here‘s a four-minute mini-documentary about Santana performing Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock while Carlos was peaking on mescaline.