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Santana - Caravanserai CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.24 | 711 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Carlos Santana's transition album from Latin to Jazz. It is surprising that a transition album from an Artist is actually his strongest (in my opinion) album from his whole discography. The album is mostly very smooth jazz with energetic moments and the trademark Santana guitar playing which is full of feeling here. His band is at its best here, with excellent 70s keyboard sounds, Powerful and memorable bass lines, Impressive percussion (including congas and bongos) and drums that seem to be at their best here, and the beautiful and pleasant sounding vocals that bring joy to the listener, though most of the music is instrumental. Another very good aspect of this album is how the songs seem to glue from one to the next, making the album feel like a huge song.

When the album begins with the mysteriously mellow Eternal Caravan of Reincarnati , it shows that it serves as an introduction to warm you up to the superior and virtuosic later songs, like the second song Waves Within which is an energetic latin jazz rocker with phenomenal and complex percussion, improvisational guitar playing that recalls Mars Volta (though much better), and a very memorable riff that holds the song together. Look Up is a very entertaining funky tune with good rhythm guitars, nice hammond organs, and excellent audible bass guitar. The percussion as always is excellent. Just in Time to See the Sun introduces the excellent (scarce) vocals, which sing great melodies. This tune is more accessible and may sound like a pop song, but it's such a musically rich little tune, that it is one little highlight of this masterpiece of jazz. The next song, an instrumental called Song of the Wind is an energetic and guitar-led instrumental (with keyboards present) that ranks among Santana's best instrumentals, surpassing probably even the popular "Europe". Another song that features vocals All the Love of the Universe follows, and is one of the most perfect jazz fusion tracks my ears have heard. It opens slightly aggressive and experimental, then leads to a very smooth guitar melody with wordless melody until you have gorgeous vocal harmonies dominating the piece. The second half has an incredible instrumental with each musician at their very best, including Santana himself who delivers phenomenal guitar solos. This song ends by going back to the musical theme of the first minute and closes the first side of the disc.

Overall, the second side does not reach the musical brilliance of the first side, but there is still plenty to enjoy here. Future Primitives opens the second side, and is a bit more atmospheric and the background sounds like something coming from The Flower Kings' "Unfold the Future" avant garde parts, though the main attraction is a complex percussion solo playing at a much faster speed than the background keys, making an interesting contrast that really works. Stone Flower is another successful song with vocals. Santana has some great guitar lines in this tune and I love how the organs and bass guitar blend so well with the conga&bongo percussion. La Fuente Del Ritmo is an instrumental with fast tempo which focuses on the rhythm section. The closer, Every Step of the Way , is easily the best track in the second side and possibly of the whole album. a Brilliant extended composition with amazing melodies, feeling, atmosphere, power, and technicality. Again, this is another moment where the whole band is allowed to play at their very best. This instrumental track is very energetic and plays at 200 km/h, and even an orchestra is featured to make it sound even more majestic. A perfect closer for the album which redeems some of the songs of the second side that are not excellent.

Highly recommended album for anyone interested in trying jazz fusion. This album is essential for any collection of modern Jazz.

Zitro | 5/5 |


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