Check it out: The rhythms alone in Ex. 1 create musical excitement, but a few bluesy D pentatonic minor-based intervals coupled with Santana’s innate sense of call-and-response add some serious sizzle.
Ex. 2’s run, played over a typical Im-IV progression, brings some fluttery Dorian flavor to the blues party, while Ex. 3 reveals how Santana substitutes F# Dorian (plus a few outside tones in bar 2) to create a wailing B Mixolydian modality over a bVII-I “A Love Supreme”-style vamp. (This last example recalls Santana’s mid-’70s ’Trane-influenced collaborations with John McLaughlin.) Just remember that when it comes to making these tasty musical recipes successful, it’s up to you to provide the main ingredient: heart.
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