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Santana - Freedom CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

1.97 | 48 ratings

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3 stars This reunion of Carlos Santana and crew with Buddy Miles is a very enjoyable treat. They obviously enjoy working together, having done so, so many times. This is the same band configuration that jammed on stage in Tokyo with Jeff Beck and toured behind the "Iron Curtain". That was at a time when it was still the "Evil Empire", so it was a risky move, but one motivated by love, on a mission of peace and harmony between people. That spirit resides at the heart of the Santana sound.

The band launches with Vera Cruz, which also features one of the greatest blues pairings ever: Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. Ex-Tower of Power master organist Chester Thompson, or CT as he is better known, having joined Santana on the previous LP Beyond Appearances, is in command of a big big wall of sound. The next song Can't Let Go brings things down to Earth with beautiful simplicity, and Buddy Miles does some fine sweet singing. His vocals work well on this tune.

Once It's Got You re-ups the tempo into a toe tapping frenzy. This is a great tune to see in a live show. Things begin to go awry at this point however. Occasionally, when Miles overly croons a bit on some of the slower songs anxiety sets in. Nonetheless, three quarters of the songs on Freedom are quite good; though it is tough to listen to it right through. Yes, there are a couple of songs that elicit a tap of the skip button, but other tracks like Victim of Circumstance, and especially Mandela, really stand out. Occasionally, when Buddy overly croons a bit on some of the slower songs anxiety sets in, but Freedom is a pretty good entry into the Santana Discography.

However, caution is recommended as this is a bit like Carlos' solo record Havana Moon, one of Carlos first attempts at bringing together many diverse guests and heroes. Recently this tendency has become an unfortunate fixation, for instance: Shaman. Santana has always been at its best when it is a self-contained jam band featuring one of the most creative and emotional guitar players in history, Carlos.

vingaton | 3/5 |


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