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Santana - Santana CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.13 | 409 ratings

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5 stars The release of the 1978 AOR-themed studio album 'Inner Secrets' signalled the end of an era for Santana, the group's incendiary mix of latino-rock, jazz and psychedelia finally put to bed after a remarkable run that began nine years earlier in San Francisco. The line-up of Gregg Rolie(keyboards, vocals), Carlos Santana(guitar), Jose Areas(percussion), David Brown(bass) and Michael Shrieve(drums) would prove to be the first great incarnation of the group, and the five-piece would enjoy a pretty sensational start after their headline-grabbing performance at that year's happening Woodstock festival. Thanks to the sizzling live set and clever timing on behalf of the label, 1969's 'Santana', the group's self-titled debut, quickly found an audience, its distinct mixture of sounds and styles fitting in nicely with the burgeoning West Coast scene of the late-sixties. Eventually, 'Santana' would reach No.4 on the US Billboard charts. Influenced strongly by the group's live style, the album would rely largely on the group's instrumental prowess, taking on a jam-band aesthetic peppered with Santana's searing electric solo's, Jose Areas' ghostly percussive streaks and Rolie's stinging organ runs. Two singles, the jaunty 'Jingo' and the funk-rock cut 'Evil Ways', were culled from the album, and although 'Jingo' failed to chart, an edited version of 'Evil Ways' peaked at No.10. A thrilling slice of early rock fusion, 'Santana' was a highly-successful debut, although the group would quickly leave behind that album's sound in favour of the more studio-refined 'Abraxas', and the jazz-fusion trio of 'Caravanserai', 'Welcome' and 'Borboletta'. In between, the triple live album 'Lotus' was issued, culled from a series of Japanes gigs from 1973, though originally it was released as a Japan-only issue. Nevertheless, it would prove to be one of the year's most popular imports throughout both Europe and North America. This selection of albums, from 'Santana' right up to the half-live, half-studio double-disc offering 'Moonflower' from 1977(essentially a European version of 'Lotus') equals all that is good and great about Santana. Later albums with differing line-ups and modern sounds would simply pale in comparison. Of course, it is arguably 'Abraxas' and 'Caravanserai' that find their group approaching their sonic apex, yet all are recommended. One of the truly great rock groups. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
stefro | 5/5 |


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