SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Jorge Santana, the guitarist for the Latin rock band Malo and younger brother to Bay Area rock legend Carlos Santana, has died at age 68, according to social media posts.
Carlos Santana wrote about his brother’s passing Friday morning on his official Facebook page.
“We take time to celebrate the magnificent spirit of our beloved brother Jorge. He transitioned unto the realm of light that cast no shadow,” Carlos Santana wrote in tribute. Jorge reportedly died of natural causes.
Jorge Santana was born in Jalisco, Mexico, in 1951, the youngest of the three Santana brothers who would relocate to San Francisco with their family in the 1960s. Jorge would also follow in his older brother’s footsteps when he picked up the guitar at age 14.
Jorge would later credit Carlos for introducing him to a wide range of music as he developed his own career, though he never had the commercial and critical success of his older sibling. Jorge got his start as a teen playing in a local blues band before joining a nine-piece R&B group with horns called the Malibu’s. Working steady club gigs with the group, he helped the band refine their sound as they adopted the new name Malo and became significant players on the SF scene during the early 1970s.
The band was signed by Warner Brothers and released four albums, with the eponymous debut achieving significant sales thanks to the hit single, “Suavecito.” By 1974, when the last MALO album was released, Jorge had established his own identity and voice as a guitarist.
He would later appear onstage and on recordings as a special guest of the NYC-based Fania All-Stars as well as recording his own solo albums. He would remain a Bay Area resident for much of his live, living in Mill Valley and Walnut Creek at various points. While he would drop out of music altogether for a time during the ’80, Jorge would be a regular onstage guest with his brother in Santana during the 1990s and into the following decade. The pair recorded an album entitled The Santana Brothers in 1994.
More recently he has performed steadily around the region, appearing at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park with a new version of Malo in 2009 and taking the stage to perform “Suavecito” at the San Francisco’s City Hall centennial celebration in 2015.