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Santana - Borboletta CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.65 | 204 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 3,5 stars really. Borboletta is a quite underrated album in my opinion. Coming after the great shock that was Welcome, it deepens into the latin jazz-rock fusion once more, but with far better results. Where Welcome is a bit disjoined and without much focus, this one has a flow that works as a whole. The brazilian connection was also straighten with the presence of famed percussionist Airto Moreira and his wife, singer Flora Purim. Moreira wrote the opening vignette and the closing, title track (again it is far more a vignette than a proper song, even if it is far longer) and Santana also recorded another brazilian songwriterīs classic song, this time Dorival Caymmi (Promise of The Fisherman). However, the bossa nova traits of Welcome are gone and the vocal songs are much more into the soul/funk/pop vein (with some jazzy flourishes). The instrumentals on the other side are pure latin fusion style. The interesting note about it is the fact that this is probably the one Santana album that the guitar is less featured than on any other of his entire discography: to the point that two instrumental tracks (like the 5 minute+ Aspirations) donīt have any guitar at all!

Like on Welcome, Carlos Santana looks like the odd man out: a melodic guitarist that plays some fine solos, but nothing like a jazz guitarist would do. To make sure the songs turned out on that way, he surrounds himself with capable musicians of that field: keyboardist Tom Coster, sax player Jules Broussard, bass virtuoso Stanley Clarke and jazz drummer Leon "Nugdu" Chancler, plus the aforementioned Moreira and Purim. When Carlos plays is like listening to a rock guitar player guesting on a fusion album. Singer/keyboards player Leon Patillo steps in and he has a nice voice, although not as powerful and incisive as Gregg Rollie. Too bad that this album would also be the last one with Michael Shrieve, for he would get sick and eventually out of the band. He was the main influence in the changing of style of the band. He introduced Carlos to the world of jazz and, most specific, of John Coltrane. Without him on board it is no coincidence that he would drop the jazz fusion elements very soon.

Borboletta (butterfly in portuguese, although, intentionally or not, it is misspelled, it should have only one t) is an interesting album that takes a few spins to get really into it, but it is worth it. Itīs more concise and coherent than Welcome. The combination of the jazzy instrumentals and popish vocal songs may seem strange, but somehow they work.This is a different Santana, no doubt, but a good one.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |


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