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Carlos Santana - Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin) CD (album) cover

LOVE DEVOTION SURRENDER (WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN)

Carlos Santana

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.93 | 106 ratings

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Progfan97402
4 stars By this point Carlos Santana was a disciple of Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual leader of rather dubious distinction (the back cover shows him with this grin on his face that makes him seem a bit shady). John McLaughlin introduced Satana to Chinmoy, so it's little surprise that they'd make an album together, with the help of many Mahavishnu Orchestra members, including Jan Hammer and Billy Cobham, with other musicians like Larry Young (sounding a bit like Gregg Rolie), Doug Rauch (bassist for Santana around the same time period) , and others. Jan Hammer only plays drums here (he's fully capable of drums, just listen to Like Children, his 1974 collaboration with Jerry Goodman to prove he's as comfortable with drums as with keyboards).

You know this isn't your typical hitmaking Santana album. It's often closer to Mahavishnu Orchestra than it is to Santana, but you'll still find Latin rhythms. The first two songs are John Coltrane songs, the first being "A Love Supreme", actually it should have been entitled "Acknowledgement", since it's the first song off A Love Surpreme. The original is piano and sax, and there is a vocal passage that repeats "A love supreme" over and over. This version, obviously is done in '70s fusion stlyle, with electric guitars and a more rock approach. The vocal passage is intact. "Naimi" is the second Coltrane song, the original appearing on his 1959 album Giant Steps. This version is modernized, but still calm and relaxed. "The Life Divine" is insanely intense and it really blew me away. There's also a repeating vocal line and I really dig Larry Young's organ playing, sounds like a spacier version of Gregg Rolie. "Let us Go into the House of the Lord" is a church song, so I often wondered what a Christian song is doing on an album done by two disciples of Sri Chinmoy. Probably due to the spiritual nature. This version, though, is all-instrumental, and honestly it sounds like an instrumental Santana song, has that similar Santana vibe going on, including Latin rhythms. "Meditation" is a short, calm piece, which makes sense, to close the album.

I remembered Rolling Stone panning this album. If memory serves, this was given a one star rating on the Rolling Stone Record Guide in the 1979 edition. I can understand where they may come from, though, because it might have seemed to their ears nothing more than a guitar wankfest, wishing for something on the line of the first three Santana albums, or more ensemble playing like from Mahavishnu Orchestra. And sure, I wouldn't recommend Love, Devotion, Surrender to those who dislike the more technical side of musicianship, but to me the power and mindblowing intensity really makes this album great. Billy Cobham proves, once again, to be a fusion powerhouse (although he shares drum duties also with Jan Hammer and Don Alias). I may not recommend this album to everyone, but I enjoy it, and it's really up to you to decide.

Progfan97402 | 4/5 |

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