Savor was formed to honor the more than 50-year career of latin-rock legend Carlos Santana — from the raw power of the self-titled album issued in 1969 to the recent spate of hits with current stars.that makes Santana’s music so well-loved.
The diverse background of Savor’s rhythm section meshes perfectly when they play as a unit, which is why the complex interweaving of classic latin rhythms are so adroitly handled by this trio. Drummer Billy Haarbauer‘s subtle, relentless groove meshes perfectly with the percussion team of Lorenzo Martinez (Congas, Bongos) and Chico Hernandez (Congas, Timbales).
Complementing the rhythm section is bassist Rick Thibodeau, whose soulful flavor rounds out the famous Santana groove, while vocalist Steven Elowe‘s impressive range and power add fuel to the fire. Keyboardist David Jefferson captures the sound of each of the decades, from the bluesy organ style of Gregg Rolie to the later, jazzier flavor of Tom Coster and Chester Thompson.
Guitarist Michael Caroff delivers every trademark Santana lick, as well as the gritty tone and singing sustain that make the songs so memorable.
Together, Savor pays fitting tribute to the popular, timeless sound that makes Santana’s music so well-loved.
Talk to us about your latest music?
Actually, the most recent music I’ve been playing is more along the jazz lines, then Latin rock. That wasn’t my intention. I started out trying to form a trio (guitar, bass, drums) to play my original instrumental music. What happened was, I ended up meeting a bass player and drummer who both wrote songs. Their style is much jazzier than mine. So we’re playing my songs (rock-flavored) and theirs (jazz-influenced). While I didn’t start out to do that, I’m really enjoying it; it’s stretching me as a guitar player, and also triggering new ideas and thoughts about writing my own music.
Why did you pick that name for the music?
Savor was a complete accident: a word we pronounce as if it were Spanish (suh-VORE), but is spelled like the English word, Savor. I should have known better, but now here we are! ;)
Does it ever get stressful when you have to come up with a title?
Ha ha! That’s a big joke among people who write instrumental music. The title can be just about anything! However, when writing vocal music, the title usually writes itself, based on the chorus of the song.
What was challenging about the making of the music?
For the music on the Latin rock album, the most challenging part was the arrangement. While I can come up with basic songs (melody and lyrics) pretty quickly, it takes a lot longer to formulate what each instrument is going to do to give each song its final flavor. For that, I much prefer working with a band in a live situation, and then testing the songs in front of an audience. You will find out pretty quickly whether or not your song needs more work – and it usually does!
But for the instrumental music I’m writing now, the most challenging part is to cover both the melody and the chords with a single instrument: guitar. And while it is difficult, I love the challenge; that is what is expanding my reach as a guitar player.
What kind of journey do you want to take your fans on when they listen to your music?
I don’t think there is one single answer to this question. Music is very personal, and it affects each listener differently, depending on their background and situation at the time. But to me, what I look for overall is some kind of reaction. If you can make people feel something with your music, I believe that you have been successful as a songwriter and performer.
What can you not wait for about your upcoming music?
After playing very rarely for the last two years, we are finally starting to book more dates. What I am looking forward to is what I call the “feedback loop.” There is something that happens between a band and an audience; the band plays, and if they’re in the zone, they get the audience to respond to them. That audience response triggers the band to up their game, which feeds back to the audience, and so on. At its peak, it is an incredibly interactive experience.
Favorite reaction so far to the music from those who have heard it?
My favorite reaction is surprise. Maybe because at heart I’m still a nerd, I don’t think people expect me to write and play the way I do. Ever since I was young, when friends came to see me, their initial shocked comment was “Dude, you rock!”
How does everyone go to listen?
Going to our YouTube channel is probably the best way to see a variety of the music that we play. And of course, our album is available on all the usual channels: iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, etc.
Drop a hint of a surprise you have in store next!
The most unusual thing I will be doing in the near future is with my new three-piece band. We are arranging a montage of two trumpet-based songs from the ‘60s; one is an extremely well-known TV-show theme song. They were already great tunes to begin with, but we are putting an edge on them that really makes the rock. I’m pumped!