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Santana - Lotus CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.84 | 113 ratings

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4 stars Santa - Lotus (live) (1975, recorded in '74)

This is an ambitious effort by Santana + band. The artwork is more then impressive (the vinyl version which I own keeps on unfolding until my complete floor is covered by it's spiritual drawings). This muchness is also present on the music itself: three lp's, six sides of live music. This counts to almost two hours of music, which is very much for a live album.

The release shows us a lot of different sides of Santana. It's main focus is of course guitar oriented Latin rock with a lot of percussions and organ-sounds, but there's so much more. I think this is Santana's most experimental (and thus progressive) release to date. There are a lot of psychedelic passages, furious solo's, strange atmospheres, great key-solo's reminding a bit of Herbie Hancock and of course the percussion solo's. So there's Latin (with that acceptable feel-good vibe), Jazz-rock (with some free-jazz influences time to time), psychedelic (more then any other Santana release) and some prog. All this different influences and styles are served without almost any moment of pause, so the listener really get's that 'there's a band playing in my room' feel.

I didn't like the recording when I first listened to the album, but I can't really see way now. I did get new speakers in the meanwhile and the album sound truly great, especially when you've taken into account it was recorded in 1975.

Most of the material is very interesting on this record, but it starts of a bit slow. The long silence in the beginning and the bit frustrated psychedelic sounding guitar playing of Santana on the first side of the album might scare some away, but Santana recovers quickly playing sensitive guitar solo's on enough other tracks. I myself like the furious solo's in the beginning, but it might be a matter of taste. For new listeners I do recommend to listen to side two - side six first.

Conclusion. This is a lot of Santa. Because of it's brave fusion of different styles it might be appealing to a lot of different members of our community. People interested in jazz-rock, psychedelic music and guitar oriented music might be particularly interested in this album. Vinyl collectors may never skip on it's beautiful packaging. Of course fans of Santana might find their favorite live album, but some might find this to be to extreme and fanatic. I myself think it's a live album that's a bit too long (today is the first day I listen to all six sides), but all material is high quality and it's brave and experimental approach on playing a live set is worthy of four stars for sure. After the masterful Caravanserai this is my favorite Santana release.

friso | 4/5 |


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