From Carlos Santana to New Album Release: Navegante Takes Center Stage

Jean Shepherd is a true Navigator who’s played and toured the world with bands from Peru, Colombia, Senegal and one of his idols and mentors —Carlos Santana.

The guitar devotee, who recently lashed out against the Grammy Academy for eliminating various categories including that of Latin Jazz, recorded one of Shepherd’s cover songs “La Raiz,” a song “he fell in love with and performed it while touring.”

“He is super humble,” said Jean Shepherd, lead vocalist, song writer, keys and guitar player of Navegante.“Such a nice guy and very gracious.”

It only seemed appropriate to name his Electro-Bass/ Latin Funk Navegante. Indeed, it has been quite the journey for the Bronx born, Miami raised musician and his band, whose first album by the same name, will be released on Tuesday.

“I want to free people up,” Shepherd said. “I want them to be completely enveloped in the music.”

Shepherd, 32, says that like Santana, he “likes putting on a full production,” when performing and taking his music “as far as it can go” by using LED [lights], strip lights, and motion lights.

“They are in for a very good show,” said Shepherd. “Every song is programmed with special effects where the visuals match the audio."

The mastermind behind the lighting tricks is Broadway show lighting director Chris Robinson who has worked on shows such as the Adams Family and Rock of Ages.

Certainly, the psychedelics-like production has become Navegante's signature asset.

Santana, has influenced Shepherd to value what he calls "la mezcla," the mix, of sounds, beats, and cultures of the Latin community− a reflection of Navegante.

“Latin folks are so supportive of us,” said Shepherd. “I take in all the influences and shoot them out.”
“I love rock music, hip hop music, Latin music, he added.  “We just mix it all up.”

You can reach Alexandra Gratereaux at: or via Twitter: @GalexLatino

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