Gregg Rolie, co-founder of a pair of multi-platinum supergroups in Santana and Journey, will make a two-night solo appearance at the famed Iridium in New York City in March.
Rolie’s Iridium stop follows the release of his well-received new solo EP, Five Days, and he is expected to play songs from that release as well as signature favorites from throughout his four-decade Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career. Rolie will answer questions from the audience during the show and afterward will participate in a meet and greet with the audience. Also appearing will be blues guitarist Alan Haynes.
Rolie was the voice behind classic Santana recordings like “Evil Ways” and “Oye Como Va,” as well as the co-producer of the band’s first four releases. That led to his induction into the rock hall in 1998. Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon departed the Santana band after the pioneering 1972 jazz fusion project Caravansarai to form Journey. Rolie would co-write and producing that band’s first seven albums.
Five Days finds Rolie playing acoustic piano and singing live on six tracks, including two new renditions of the classic hits “Black Magic Woman” from his days with Santana and “Anytime” from Journey.
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Gregg Rolie, Santana and Journey. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
GREG ROLIE – FIVE DAYS: Gregg Rolie, a founding member of Santana and then Journey, is probably best remembered as this tiny speck playing keyboards in a sold-out arena. That’s what made this deeply introspective project, recorded live with just piano and vocals, an unexpected and intimate revelation. Rolie offered a couple of originals, took on the pre-war blues standard “Trouble in Mind,” and (in a treat for fans) reexamined two of his most memorable vocals from those seminal rock bands — “Anytime” and “Black Magic Woman.” Rather than echoing his earlier successes, though, Rolie worked hard to find new insights within them. That, of course, meant Five Days didn’t blaze any new trails, but I don’t think that was the aim. Instead, Rolie stopped to examine a few familiar stones along the pathway. And he helped us see something there that we hadn’t before.
SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: GREGG ROLIE, FOUNDING MEMBER OF SANTANA AND JOURNEY: Gregg Rolie, a 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, has learned a lot about himself since taking fame’s exit ramp to start a family almost 30 years ago. He’s put into perspective the work done as a founding member of Santana, a stint that saw Rolie co-produce the group’s first four albums beginning in 1969. The bluesy B-3 stylist then added to an overstuffed resume that already included an appearance at Woodstock, leaving with Neal Schon to launch Journey. There, he helped craft a series of 1970s recordings that set the stage for that band’s arena-rock supernova moment in the 1980s.
ONE TRACK MIND: JOURNEY, “FEELING THAT WAY/ ANYTIME” (1978; 2011 reissue): A new Greatest Hits Vol. 2 was, in some ways, more interesting than Journey’s initial best-of compilation — if only because its songs haven’t necessarily become ear-wormingly familiar. Perhaps the most potent examples are these twin 1978 gems from Infinity, Journey’s first project with Steve Perry. His appearance would immediately transform an interesting, if often unfocused jam band — co-led by Santana alums Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon — into a hit-making juggernaut. This album easily became the band’s biggest seller to date, as Journey moved toward a tighter focus on songcraft.
SANTANA – GREATEST HITS: LIVE AT MONTREUX (2012): His sound is so crystalline, so special, that Carlos Santana remains recognizable with or without pictures. Yet for all of the accolades showered on this Mexican-born American guitar hero, not least of which is his inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Santana has always been as bold and colorful as he is collaboratively brilliant. Greatest Hits: Live at Montreux, filmed last summer, tends to underscore how these intersections have come to define his band — and, in some cases, how dearly collaborative voices like Gregg Rolie’s are missed.
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Want more? The Gregg Rolie Band has a stand-alone Web site with additional music and other cool merchandise.