This Saturday night, May 2, the Vernon Jazz Club hosts a sold out show celebrating an icon of Latin rock and a true guitar hero, Carlos Santana.
Supernatural – A Santana Experience is a seven-piece band that recreates the experience of a Santana concert with songs spanning his almost 50-year career. The audience will be led on a journey from Santana’s performance at Woodstock through to 2015, including the release of his 1999 smash album Supernatural.
The band is fronted by Doug Towle (guitar and vocals) and features Susana Abreu (percussion and vocals), Heidi McCurdy (vocals), Brett Zeigler (keys), Pete Davyduck (bass), Mike Michalkow (drums), and Lyndon Dewitt (percussion).
Although many of the band members have known each other for years, the group got together just two years ago and have been busy performing ever since.
Towle was able to hand select the musicians he wanted to share in the magic. Finding the perfect set list was a harder feat.
“Starting to choose the songs was far more difficult than we expected,” said Towle. “When the project began we knew a few songs that had to be in the set: Black Magic Woman, Evil Ways and of course Smooth. The list of have-tos became huge. We still have a hard time cutting the songs down to a respectable three sets. We could easily play for several more hours.”
Towle’s taste was extremely diverse when he was starting out in music.
“Growing up, I listened to everything: classical and jazz to metal and more metal,” he said.
After spending years in grunge and metal bands, playing fast and hard on the electric guitar, Towle says he came home one night and picked up his nylon-string guitar.
“Latin music flowed out completely naturally. Starting a Santana tribute was inevitable,” he said. “I’ve always admired Carlos and his ability to lead such a strong band for so many years and with such high quality. Fronting a band as a guitarist and not as a singer takes an incredible amount of talent and tenacity.”
In 2009, Towle beat out thousands of other guitarists and was a top 10 finalist for Guitar Player Magazine’s guitar superstar competition.
He has performed across North America at Guitar Player Live in San Francisco, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Zihuatenejo Guitar Festival in Mexico, the Juan De Fuca Festival and the Harmony Arts Festival.
He also owns and teaches out of DNA Guitar Studio, with two locations in Langley and South Surrey.
At the young age of 15, Abreu was playing in local clubs four nights a week. She sings in both English and Spanish in a wide range of styles including salsa, meringue, rock, pop and jazz.
McCurdy has performed in Europe, the U.S., and Canada. Her song Fickle Mind won first place in the Write On songwriting contest. She has shared the stage with The Barenaked Ladies, Papa Wemba, and 54-40.
Davyduck has been a crucial member in many of Towle’s musical projects for the past 13 years. He is also a Fender representative.
Michalkow has been performing, recording, and teaching drums for more than 20 years. He has taught on a number of drum instructional DVDs, including Moeller Method Secrets, The Jazz Drumming System, and the world-renowned Drumming System, which has sold nearly 20,000 copies. He also teaches online.
Dewitt plays drums and percussion for a variety of local artists including Towle’s nuevo flamenco group De La Terra. In 2006 he hit the blues trail as the drummer for singer/songwriter John Lee Sanders.
Supernatural – A Santana Experience takes the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st St.) Saturday, May 2 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15. The show is now sold out.