Santana – Incident at Neshabur

Transcribed for trumpet, tenor sax, and trombone, for an upcoming gig.

Santana has performed many unique arrangements of this tune. This chart aligns to the recording “Live In Las Vegas 2015” where he added a two-piece horn section to his line-up.

Some related trivia from Wikipedia that I found interesting about this tune’s origins, composition, and meaning:

As Carlos Santana stated, “Neshabur is where the army of Toussaint Louverture – who was a black revolutionary – defeated Napoleon in Haiti. So that’s what it’s about. I think by writing songs like ‘Incident at Neshabur’ and ‘Toussaint L’Overture,’ we felt we were our own kind of revolutionary […] Alberto Gianquinto, our pianist on Abraxas, helped us a lot putting it together. The first part of the music is from Horace Silver’s ‘Señor Blues.’ The slow part is […] from Aretha Franklin’s ‘This Girl’s In Love With You.'”

There seems to be no place called Neshabur on Haiti or associated with the Haitian Revolution, nor has there been a single event in which the French army under Napoleon (who was never on Haiti) was defeated by the rebels under Toussaint (who had by then died in a prison cell in France). Possibly Santana confused the 1804 Haiti massacre, in which almost the entire white population of Haiti was killed, with the destruction and subsequent massacre of the entire population of Nishapur (also called Neshabur) in current day Iran by the Mongols in 1221.


Santana - Incident at Neshabur - Trumpet Tenor Sax Trombone. Transcribed by Gary Badger -

Transcribed by me and free for you to use.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.

4 thoughts on “Santana – Incident at Neshabur

  1. Hopefully no one ever called Carlos out on this inaccuracy in one of his MasterClass sessions. He’s great enough with the axe to give him a pass on this notion!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Napolean he is referring to is Napolean III. The very same Napolean that was defeated in Mexico at the battle of Puebla. Which is one of the most important incidents in modern Western history. That is what we are celebrating when we celebrate CINCO DE MAYO! The end of European Imperialism in the western hemisphere. And yes Napolean III was indeed in what is now known as Haiti.

    Liked by 1 person

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