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Santana - Caravanserai CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.22 | 739 ratings

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5 stars "Caravanserai" is the 4th full-length studio album by US jazz rock/fusion act Santana. The album was released . A couple of changes has happened to the lineup that recorded the last album Santana 3 (1971) as bassist Dawid Brown and percussionist Michael Carabello are no longer members of Santana. "Caravanserai" features a lot of guest musicians instead. Two different bassists in Tom Rutley and Doug Rauch (Doug Rauch would stay on as a permanent member) plus some guest piano and percussion by other guest players. "Caravanserai" was recorded between the 21st of February 1972 and the 5th of May 1972 and the album was released through Columbia Records in October 1972. Caravanserai was produced by guitarist/vocalist Carlos Santana and drummer Michael Shrieve.

While the music style in many ways are comparable to the three first albums by the group there are big differences too and "Caravanserai" can be seen as a turning point in the groupīs career. Many of the elements from the first three albums are still present on "Caravanserai" and the very eclectic nature of the music is intact. Influences from jazz, fusion, latin and african music, rock and blues are still present, but the pop element which meant that the first three albums reached a big audience and sold millions of copies are not present on "Caravanserai", thereby making it a relatively more difficult to access album than its predecessors.

The music on the album leans more towards jazz rock/fusion and the tracks generally feature technically challenging playing. Most of the tracks are instrumentals. There are actually only three tracks on "Caravanserai" which feature vocals and those three tracks are not mainstream accessible (read: few hooklines or easy to remember choruses). All tracks are still very memorable and melodic though which is something that sets "Caravanserai" apart from many other albums in the jazz rock/fusion genre. The album is easy to access and thatīs one of the albumīs major strengths. This is certainly challenging music but there are no unneccessary noodling or complex playing for the sake of it. Everything just seem to fit in the right place and tracks like "Waves Within", the "feel good" song "All the Love of the Universe" and the two closing tracks "La Fuente del Ritmo" and "Every Step of the Way" with their extensive percussive assault are great examples of what make this album so special. Strong guitar playing by Carlos Santana and the only 16 year old Neal Schon grace the album, but the omnipresent organ playing by Gregg Rollie, the excellent bass playing by Tom Rutley and Doug Rauch, the strong and enjoyable drumming by Michael Shrieve and the percussive assualt by Jose 'Chepito' Areas and Armando Peraza, all means that the experience of listening to "Caravanserai" becomes one of those truly unique and magical listening experiences.

The organic sound production is excellent. All instruments are perfect in the mix and as a result "Caravanserai" is a very pleasant album to listen to.

Upon conclusion "Caravanserai" is an absolutely outstanding album by Santana, and while I greatly enjoyed all three predecessors, this album really blows me away. I can highly recommend "Caravanserai" to anyone with an interest in melodic jazz rock/fusion. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 5/5 |


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