When I first started playing with a Santana Tribute band, I liked Santana‘s music, but didn’t have a true appreciation for it. No song has changed that opinion more than “Jingo“: a one-chord “chant” piece from the band’s debut album, Santana by Santana.
Not only is Jingo a simple song harmonically, but the bass line literally does not change from start to finish. Playing Jingo has given me a true appreciation for Carlos Santana’s melodic prowess, as well as the power of arrangement to drive a song.
Though “Soul Sacrifice” was immortalized in the Woodstock Film, and “Evil Ways” had the most radio success, I believe it is Jingo which best exemplifies the deceptively simple power of Santana’s early music.
While Carlos achieved his greatest commercial success with Supernatural (driven by hits like “Smooth” and “Maria Maria“), he launched his career decades before with music that — although more than 40 years old — is still relevant today.