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Santana - Caravanserai CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.22 | 736 ratings

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5 stars Caravanserai was a most important jazz initiation for many suburban hippies, many of whom would subsequently move on to appreciate the likes of John Coltrane at one end of the spectrum, and Miles Davis' Bitches Brew at the other. This LP signaled a switch in Santana's signature sound to add many more influences to the somewhat simple Latin/rock of previous efforts.. This album has many of the original band members, but the sound is far more experimental, and openly shows Carlos for the first as the group's main conductor and creative force.

The first side of this record documents a time of complete artistic freedom, and the haunting horn that opens Caravanserai signals the emergence of Carlos as modern musical shaman. The original three records were fairly straightforward offerings, but Caravanserai is far trippier. Just the same, it is an easy listen that draws the listener into a very atmospheric experience from the outset.

Experiencing Santana in concert is about as close as you can get to going to church without the religion, but the Caravanserai tour was at first a shock for ears not yet cured in jazz. It must have been quite disconcerting for some of those in the early audiences of this tour who were perhaps expecting to see the band from the Woodstock movie.

There has always been a conflict in Santana's music between the honest questing heard on Caravanserai with the overt grabbing for a hit single that permeates more recent material. This fourth Santana recording helped push rock music toward jazz and opened many ears of many musicians toward implementing an electric rock format to create a jazz-fusion sound. Caravanserai did for rock what Bitches Brew did for jazz, and many copies of vinyl have been worn down and replaced over the years. It never loses its appeal, and is for many long time fans one of the truly treasured items in their collections.

Caravanserai is a complete departure from the previous rock-pop sound into a more spiritual complexity that would echo through Santana's work right up until the late nineties.

vingaton | 5/5 |


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