Take Five: Michael Shrieve

Michael Shrieve’s amazing talents were revealed to the wider world thanks to his dazzling drum work as a member of Santana. Shrieve had just turned 20 when that band played Woodstock in 1969. He remained with the band through seven albums, reuniting with the original Santana lineup for 2016’s well-received Santana IV. But the drummer – a friend and protégé of jazz great Elvin Jones – has much more of note to his credit. Michael Shrieve turned 73 this month. Here are five superb tracks featuring him working outside of Santana.

Automatic Man – “My Pearl” (1976) After leaving Santana, Shrieve formed a powerful San Francisco-based quartet with guitarist Pat Thrall, bassist Doni Harvey and jazz keyboardist Todd “Bayete” Cochran. The single off their first album displays a winning combination of pop, funk and prog-rock textures.

Stomu Yamash’ta / Go – “Crossing the Line”(1976) – Shrieve and Pat Thrall were also part of a genre-defying supergroup, Go. Led by Japanese composer and multi-instrumentalist Stomu Yamash’ta, Go featured German synthesizer pioneer Klaus Schulze (Tangerine Dream) plus lead singer/multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood (Traffic, Blind Faith etc.). This soulful track is the most accessible among an excellent batch of songs on the band’s first of three releases.

Novo Combo – “Up Periscope” (1981) – Shrieve’s versatility has always been among his chief assets, and his work as part of New York City-based power pop foursome Novo Combo. The group toured widely, opening for like-minded acts including Cheap Trick and The Who. “Up Periscope” nearly cracked the Top 40 singles charts.

Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve – “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (1984) After Novo Combo, Shrieve took part in another supergroup project, this time featuring members of Journey and Montrose. HSAS’s sound was an appealing brand of hard rock, featuring songs by vocalist Sammy Hagar and guitarist Neal Schon. But their debut LP Through the Fire included a power ballad reading of Procol Harum’s classic “A Whiter shade of Pale,” and it was released as a single.

Freddie Hubbard – “Times ‘R Changing’” (1989) Michael Shrieve’s deep roots in jazz found expression on Times Are Changing, and album featuring legendary trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Joined by former band mate Todd Cochran, bassist Stanley Clarke and other ace players, Shrieve played cymbals and handled drum programming for this late-period outing. The title track combines electronic textures with a smooth jazz style, and shows its participants to good effect.