Santana’s back on Fillmore

Photograph of Santana by Mark Brady

Fillmore has always had a claim on guitarist Carlos Santana, and not only because of his many appearances at the Fillmore Auditorium. For a number of years his studio was on Fillmore Street next door to the Clay Theater.

Now he’s back as part of the first special exhibition at the Fillmore Heritage Center. “A Tribute to Miles Davis and Carlos Santana” opened May 23 and continues through July 31, 2008, and includes items from Santana’s personal collection.

The man himself stopped by after his appearance May 20 up the street at the Fillmore Auditorium, reports the center’s executive director, Peter Fitzsimmons.

“Carlos came by and fell in love with many Miles images,” Fitzsimmons says, “and seemed delighted to visit with the many memories inherent in the memorabilia and photographs. Stopping in front of Mark Brady’s photograph of a Santana concert at San Quentin, Carlos recounted the concert and how he was able to reach across racial barriers to involve the hardest of the hard-core inmates in musical rapture. He mentioned, in what must have been a surreal moment, that he saw the machine-gun-toting guard up in the tower swaying to rocking rhythms. He was with us for a good 45 minutes, taking photos with his guest and the staff, and he seemed intrigued and open to learning more about the Jazz Heritage Center.”

Photograph of Santana at San Quentin by Mark Brady