The group includes, Jazz Giants Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter our very own Marcus Miller and Santana's wife Cindy Blackman Santana.
No matter who you are or what skills you bring to the table, starting a new band with keyboardist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, two of the jazz world's most iconic luminaries, is serious business. Not so serious, though, that Carlos Santana, a legend in his own right, hesitates to crack wise about the origin of Mega Nova, the jazz-rock supergroup he's formed with Hancock, Shorter and two more heavyweight players: bassist Marcus Miller and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, the guitarist's wife.
"I asked them if it was OK for me to start a rumor that we were going to do something together, and they said, ‘Of course,'" Santana tells Rolling Stone, laughing. "So I started a rumor, and here we are. And I feel so excited, because with these musicians, anything and everything can be transmitted."
The new band, Mega Nova – named in tribute to Shorter's 1969 solo album Super Nova – will make its debut in a one-off concert at the Hollywood Bowl on August 24th. It's not the first time these players have met onstage; most of the band members have played together on various occasions, and Santana and Shorter toured together in 1988. Shorter and Hancock collaborated with Santana in a program called "Hymns for Peace" at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2004, and Miller and Blackman Santana were among the supporting musicians that joined the core triumvirate for a Hancock-led event, "Celebrating Peace," at the Hollywood Bowl in 2012.
"Carlos is a big jazz fan, a big supporter of the music," Hancock tells RS. "With his heart, he honors jazz. But it's not just words; it's also his deeds. This is the kind of action that he's taken to include jazz, because he has so much respect for it, and he respects Wayne and me – as we respect him: as a musician, as a storyteller in music. Nobody can deliver a melody like Carlos."
The admiration is mutual, emphatically so. "For me, this is a real blessing," Santana says, "to dream of something, and then to see it come to fruition." To be in the company of Shorter and Hancock – whose work with trumpeter and bandleader Miles Davis in the mid-1960s launched trailblazing careers in jazz, fusion and pop, individually and in collaboration – is a lesson in humility, as Santana describes it.
"We have the capacity for creating a world that we can all believe in, one that we can look forward to for ourselves and our children," Hancock says. "What we want to do is make a step toward bringing cultures and ethnicities and people in general together, and show the value of collaboration from the standpoint of respect. The whole concept of building something together: That's what this is about."
Santana is even more pointed about the objective. "I want to be able to travel with this band eventually, and be the peace ambassadors, which is what Louis Armstrong used to be, and what I would say Bob Marley or John Lennon represented," he says. "Let me say really clearly: Wayne and Herbie and I and Cindy and Marcus, we are the frequency to do the opposite of Donald Trump. We don't see walls – we saw the Berlin Wall come down. We've been to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we saw what that stuff is. We play music to bring, once and for all, inclusiveness and family. This is the band."
© Steve Smith - Rolling Stone
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