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Carlos Santana - Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin) CD (album) cover

LOVE DEVOTION SURRENDER (WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN)

Carlos Santana

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars When this album came out in July of 1973 my favorite LP at the time was "Caravanserai" and my favorite guitar player was John McLaughlin so I figured it would be an endeavor that had no chance of disappointing my ears. I surmised it wouldn't sound much like the bands Santana or The Mahavishnu Orchestra and I was right. Yet I was still surprised by what it turned out to be. Over the years I've wafted back and forth between thinking it is a brilliant specimen of jazz/rock fusion for a while and then there are times when I consider it to be a mostly noisy display of self-indulgent excess. As of the most recent listen I find myself somewhere in the middle of those two opinions so it means you'll be getting a fairly unbiased and accurate essay about "Love Devotion Surrender" in the next few paragraphs.

Both musicians were going through some big changes at the time. Carlos' highly successful group had repeatedly conquered the singles charts but he was growing tired of the rut they'd found themselves in and had started to steer the ensemble into the more exciting yet risky territory of fusion. They were still a viable, somewhat stable entity but in the other corner the very influential combo of virtuosos that John had assembled and led was beginning to break apart because of inner conflicts. A few years earlier McLaughlin had introduced Santana to Guru Sri Chinmoy and a deep, spiritual-based friendship developed between them. Carlos was also in awe of John's amazing skill and technique on the guitar so it appears that collaboration between the two was inevitable. Using their mutual admiration for John Coltrane's envelope-pushing work as a foundation, they got it done in two intense sessions held in October of '72 and March of '73. I was thrilled with the prospect of greatness coming out of their union and bought it the day it was released.

"A Love Supreme" (a version of Coltrane's "Acknowledgement") starts with an explosion of sounds, then drops into Doug Rauch's hypnotic bass line grooving over the track's uncomplicated drums and percussion. After some organ noodlings courtesy of Larry Young Santana and McLaughlin duke it out back and forth like electrified maniacs and the result is extremely combustible as they goad one another to higher and higher peaks of passion. After a spell of this intensity the number backs off for some loose chanting of the song's title by conga man Armando Peraza. I dare say that if this cut doesn't do much for you then the rest of the album will not be something you'll enjoy. Coltrane's emotional composition "Naima" from 1959 is next and the beauty and etherealness created by the duo's acoustic guitars is very refreshing, especially after surviving the fire of the opening song.

Billy Cobham's boisterous drums make a huge impression throughout "The Life Divine," making it the most arresting track on the album. Having said that, I could've used a lot less of the off-key chanting that consistently interrupts the flow of the music. A little bit of a repeating mantra goes a long way, fellas. Here each guitarist gets his own uninterrupted solo and, despite Carlos delivering some of his fieriest salvos, John absolutely bedazzles the mind with his speed-of-light shredding. Amidst all this six-string conflagration Rauch's solid bass work does a great job of keeping things from disintegrating into chaos. The traditional "Let Us Go into the House of The Lord" follows and, at almost 16 minutes, it is by far the longest jam on the record. It opens with a free-form melee of drums, percussion and guitars colliding over what sounds like random organ chords and then settles into a fast-paced, conga-led Latin samba rhythm. This inaugurates a more defined movement, establishing a firm base for yet another Godhead-cutting guitar duel. Atonal organ spasms from Young break up the monotony after a while and then, after a cooling-down segment, McLaughlin indulges in a demonstration of his edgy, jazz-on-the-fringe-of-sanity approach to guitar playing. Santana jumps in on top of him at one point and they play simultaneously, setting the studio ablaze in the process before the number finally peters out from exhaustion. The closer is John's "Meditation," on which he plays some lovely piano and Carlo performs on acoustic guitar. It's an atmospheric piece that provides a peaceful finale to their project.

What's amazing to me is that, as wildly eclectic as this album is at times, it climbed all the way up to #14 on the LP charts. Even taking into consideration that some buyers mistakenly thought they were getting another dose of classic Santana fare instead of other-worldly explorations into the spiritual ether, that fact shows that the public in general was much more adventurous and open-minded in the 70s. The photographs on the album cover didn't exactly give the impression that this was a pop record, either. They look like two reflective family members at a cousin's wedding on the front and like two uniform-clad college freshmen posing with their Indian dorm supervisor on the back. No, I think that the tens of thousands that purchased "Love Devotion Surrender" knew they weren't going to be hearing anything like "Black Magic Woman" on this disc yet I suspect that they got more evolutionary jazz than they bargained for in the deal. This is truly a one-of-a-kind happening that allowed a couple of outstanding guitarists in their prime to stretch themselves without restraint to the limits of their abilities and to hell with the consequences. Love it or hate it, you can't deny that it is incredibly unique in the realm of jazz/rock fusion.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#93389)
Posted Wednesday, October 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
5 stars After the artistically perfect Caravanserai and the first departure from his original group, Carlos had also developed an interest in eastern philosophy and became a student of Guru Sri Chinmoy along with his buddy John McLaughlin. Both started their spiritual names, respectively Devadip Carlos and Mahavishnu John. Generally this writer is not a fan of those so-called eastern philosophies (all too often being religious sects), but in this case it did not affect the two guitarist's performance and might have even inspired them to their better works (John with Inner Mounting Flame and Birds Of Fire and Carlos with Caravanserai and Borboletta) and their collaboration would be just as fabulous.

This album is homage to jazz giant John Coltrane and this very present album is no stranger or foreign factor to this writer's appreciation of the giant Trane. As a matter of fact, Carlos' two Trane albums (this one and Illuminations) and Christian Vander's Magma are the main highways that lead me to jazz, bebop and later free jazz, RIO and Contemporary classical music. Clearly the album draws on Coltrane mythic album A Love Supreme, which represent his artistic peak, as almost everyone will agree. Although both guitarists having brought some of their respective group's members (Rauch, Peraza and Shrieve for Carlos and Young, Cobham and Hammer for John), both guitarist being on the same Columbia label, the album will be considered more of a Santana solo album (check in the store shelves) than a McLaughlin solo. Go figure why, though.

Right from the opening track, we are plunged in the third movement of Trane' ALS, right around one of the only place when you hear Coltrane singing. Well here Carlos and John are just wailing in front of Larry Young's great organs. The second track is an acoustic rrrteprise of Naima (a Coltrane classic) where McLaughlin is clearly on lead guitar. The next A Life Divine is a McLaughlin inspiration on the same theme than the opener, but Carlos gets some choice leads. Since both guitarists have such distinctive styles, it is quite fun to follow what each is doing. The major track of the album is the lengthy House Of The Lord where the two compadres are simply having a ball at it. The album closes on a short McLaughlin acoustic track.

The only weak point of this album is the uninventive artwork when knowing that both Santana and Mahavishnu Orchestra were dishing at minimum interesting covers and at best fascinating sleeves. If like me you fear some kind of religious recuperation (the only one being financial since all proceeds from the albums go into the guru's well- being), rest assured that after three decades of listening to this album, I am still quite resisting to any kind of religious bewitchment or recruiting. One hell of an able, which might be perceived by some as

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#95732)
Posted Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Yes, wondeful!

It was something like 2 or 3 years ago when i went to my beloved Saturday`s Tianguis del Chopo, where i found this album by "mistake" i have found many others albums by mistake as well, but this was when i was so new in the prog scene, actually when i bought it i classified as a Santanesque latin rock album, but i was wrong.

Now that i know a bit more, let me tell you that you dont need anything more but see the names of this coupled of guitar monsters, John Mclaughlin and Carlos Santana, do i have to say more?, well there have been albums done by excellent musicians gathered and have failed, maybe the name is more than the album, but this time the album is a complete representation of the virtuosism of this guitarists which met long time ago and become friends, what a better way to make music than with a friend, i mean with a virtuoso friend. Also this album was released in 1973, when both artists were in their highest moments, and with a help of their spiritual soul, "Love, Devotion and Surrender" was created.

Now let me tell you the sound of the different songs, this album whcih reaches almost 40 minutes of exquisite music, starts with "A Love Supreme", yes, Coltrane has been an inspiration to both, and the song is excellent with a Latin style which belongs clearly to Santana, but with the powerful and virtuoso guitar playing of Mclaughlin, having in the organ the best friend to go with them in the song, here is a song when voices are heard, saying a love supreme. The next track is an acoustic and calmed song which shows us the delicated and beautiful sound of the acoustic guitars, but different to the other songs and i could say that this is my less favorite.

"The Life Divine" is a Mclaughlin creation with the best that Santana could have offer in his guitar, as the first song this time you will hear voices sayin the life divine, this is a song totally in the fusion side with that great organ as a background, excellent drums, Billy Cobham participates in the album, so in drums term, what more can we ask for, the song has to be a fusion stuff with a brief psychedelic emotion, a fast fast song, or at least i fell a faster atomsphere within me when i listen to it, but i happens actually in every Mclaughlin`s crazy guitar driven song.

"Let us go Into the House of the Lord", okay, keep your mind clean and hold into your sit or bed or whenever you are, because this song is the masterpiece of the album, 15 minutes of amazing virtuosism which you will love for sure, starting since the first note with powerful guitar solos, and a kind of jamming because you will listen to the drums and organ making company to that marvelous guitar, it`s funny because the solos never end, i mean of course in a moment the guitar doesn`t sound, but it is so constant and better constant beauty, it is until over minute 3 when a different sound appears , this time with the latin sound characteristic of Santana`s music with that congas and faster exquisite sound, the virtuosism has no boundaries here, it simply doesn`t end, the song is so constant and always with a progress, this is a crazy trip to the fusion world.

And the album finishes with "Meditation", see their album title and their clothes in the cover, a clear connection between them in this topic, but the song is not for meditation at all, is just the other soft and calmed song with a nice piano and the spanish acoustic guitar trhough it, the trip and craziness guitar sound has finished, here you will also love those "rasgados" sounds of guitar, but the temperature has decreased and you can go with a calmed emotion and more tranquil.

I absolutely love this album, though the second song is not so enjoyable to me, i would say that it is almost a masterpiece, something like 4.7 stars, which with your interpretation coudl be a 5 star album.

Get the album please!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#98368)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is what I like about music - the musicians sometime do collaborative effort. This is the case also with two guitar masters from different music style. Carlos Santana had been in so far involved with his musical adventures that explore latin-rock music with minimum influence of jazz. His band Santana was one of the legendary bands that shape the classic rock music in early 70s. John McLaughlin had been very famous in his exploration into jazz-rock fusion kind of music through his band The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Each individual guitar player has their own style and expression through their guitar. The result is a good combination of styles that blend nicely into this album.

As you might have expected, this collaborative efforts would create a unique sound - especially if you really observes the subtleties of guitar sound produced. At "A Love Supreme" I almost could not differentiate the guitar style of these two gentlemen. On this track, both guitarists explore their own style in a kind of jamming session style - where the accompanying music does not vary much during the stream of music it produces. But on "Let Us Go Into The house of The Lord" - the distinction between the two guitarists has become so obvious. Carlos Santana demonstrates his style in Latin Rock while John McLaughlin is consistent in his jazz-rock style. I believe those who like to play guitar might use this track as reference because these two gentlemen demonstrate their styles at their best performance. I enjoy the guitar solos.

This is a very good album where those guitar aficionados should use this album as reference. The guitar playing style of Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin is extremely different but they are blended nicely in this album. Unfortunately, this album does not capitalize the virtuosity of suporting musicians like Billy Cobham (drums), Doan Alias, and Jan Hammer. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#98478)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Essential fusion record which is a must for any decent jazz rock/fusion collection, "Love, Devotion, Surrender" is not an easy listen. It takes more than a few spins to appreciate. However, I will not rate it with 5 stars due to somewhat overdone vocals and here and there typically unneeded McLaughlin's guitar extravagant soloing. But, everything else is perfect and it is highly recommended.

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#104728)
Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Duelling banjos

In the early 1970's, Carlos Santana and Mahavishnu John McLaughin got together for a one off project centred around their new found beliefs. Thus, while the sleeve notes and images are of the Eastern type adopted by the Beatles and others who followed their trail, the music is essentially jazz rock with occasional repeated vocal motifs.

The first two tracks are interpretations of legendary jazz musician John Coltrane's compositions "A love supreme" and "Niama". The former is a lengthy guitar workout over a repeated mantra of the title. It is more or less totally improvised, but it is pretty much impossible to say who if any is the dominant player. The latter is a gentle acoustic guitar interlude.

Two of the tracks are McLaughlin compositions. "The life devine" sets off as an apparent continuation of the opening track, and indeed follows the same template with further improvised guitar workouts over a repeating chant of the title. The closing "Meditation" reverts to the soft acoustic sound of "Naima".

Side two of the album is more or less dedicated to a 16 minute arrangement of the traditional "Let us go into the house of the lord". For those familiar with that piece, there will be a major challenge in recognising it from the opening guitar fanfare. Here, the Santana sound is very much in evidence as the congas lay the basis for this unending jam.

Ironically, it is Larry Young (here given his spiritual name Khalid Yasin) whose contribution is in my opinion most notable. The expertise of the guitar playing is as would be expected, except that it does not go beyond two top guitarists displaying their abilities. Young on the other hand lays an essential foundation for the album, without which it would sound dry and lifeless.

The overriding impression one is left with when listening to this album is that here we have two guitar virtuosos doing just what they want to do. There is no question of the music being tailored to a particular audience, as long as the two protagonists were happy with the results, that was all that mattered. There is no doubt that the album displays the talents of Santana and McLaughlin superbly. That though in itself does not make this an album which bears repeated listening. For me it is a bit like watching a good film. Watching it over and over in a short space of time diminishes the pleasure, it does not enhance it. Talking of good films, here I am reminded of the "Duelling banjos" scene from "Deliverance".

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#109234)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Two virtuoso guitarists with a common spiritual lean collaborate to pay tribute to their spiritual leader. Devadip and the Mahavishnu were together at last. The album they created was ambitious, and they certianly didn't disappoint with Love, Devotion, and Surrender.

The powerful opening of "A Love Supreme" showed that McLaughlin's presence clearly pushed Santana into playing much more technically. The same could be said of Santana's presence pushing the Mahavishnu into playing more passionately. That is the beauty of such a collaboration. They also managed to capture some real tender magic on "Naima" as well. John Coltrane would have been proud of those performances.

"The Life Devine" and "Let's Go Into the House of the Lord" show the guitarists warmed up and ready to go. Their styles compliment each other beautifully and show us why they are among the very best ever on 6 strings with tons of fire and passion. "Meditation" ends the album with another tender moment and some beautiful Spanish guitar. It gives the listener a chance to catch to relax after all the breathtaking electric guitar that preceded it.

Love, Devotion, and Surrender is much more than an album for guitarists. There are some magical moments on this album that showed the true potential of music as a powerful and spiritual force. It is highly recommended for progressive music fans.

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Send comments to jimidom (BETA) | Report this review (#135476)
Posted Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Let's just say that you really have to be in the right mood for this one. Sometimes this may sound like endless jamming and chanting. Other times it may actually feel like two talented guitarists (and of course talented backing musicians!) pulling from some greater consciousness to piece together mind-blowing music. My take is that this is a case of two successful musicians with few restrictions placed on them who probably believe they have made a greater achievement than they actually have. On the other hand, I admit that I have not studied jazz thoroughly and am not in a position to "get" this music as much as others.

A Love Supreme. A dual guitar onslaught provides hope, and a good groove leads to plenty of fast guitar runs and wails. However, this dies down into a long section of chanting and die-down. Some nice playing, but repetitive and too lengthy.

Naima, Meditation. Two mellow tunes, featuring a duet between Carlos and Mahavishnu John and back-and-forth between the two over piano, respectively. They definitely have an Eastern feel, but to my ears are quite simple and uninspired.

The Life Divine. Similar to Love Supreme in that a lively opener morphs into repetitive riffing, though overall more upbeat, with more interesting percussion and bass. The vocal chanting again becomes a bit boring quickly.

Let Us Go into the House of the Lord. More of the same...the percussion is practically begging for some more creativity from Carlos and Mahavishnu John to keep up. Maybe it's a personal thing, but fifteen minutes of the same chords and guitar improv is simply too much.

Overall, nothing especially impressive. Nothing wrong with jamming and experimenting, but I need more structure. Carlos is not especially versatile, and catchy songs tend to cover this fact, though he is quite exposed here (and the same applies to Mahavishnu John in my opinion, though I'm admittedly less familiar with his corpus of work). Good for parties, chilling out, or cooking, but not when you really want to focus on the music.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#137689)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Incomparable. To me, the greatest musical recording of all time. Idiosyncratic I know. Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord is an adoption of the arrangement performed by Pharaoh Sanders and friends on the album Deaf Dumb and Blind, which was charted by Lonnie Liston Smith. Beautiful. In these hands it's the Ode to Joy. Almost impenetrably dense. On each listening one must concentrate upon these players in turn, other than McLaughlin or Santana. Start with Rauch's bass. Yes, it's just a drone. Listen. Then Peraza's skins. Impossible. Then Young's organ, from another world. This is cosmic Wall of Sound. Grandiose. Beautiful. Then terrible and huge in McLaughln's solo attack. Resolution. One in ten million will get this. No matter.

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Send comments to rapier (BETA) | Report this review (#188755)
Posted Monday, November 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I am not doing this too often, but let me tell you a little story about this album.

''Santana'' (the band) has been a companion of mine since January '70 (I know, I'm getting old). I used to buy any ''Santana'' stuff available in these early seventies of which I am so found (yes, these were - are - the best moments of my musical life, but not only to tell the truth).

My first disappointment with the Carlos work was his first solo (?) album released in '72. The live album with Buddy Miles was a real blunder, and the teenage fan I was then was rather suspect to any new venture of the great man.

Still, I dug further with this album. I had absolutely no clue what to expect of a collaboration with Mc Laughlin (I was fourteen at the time of release) and I solemnly went on to purchase this album.

I remember that my first reactions were rather drastic: I really didn't like this album. At all. It led me to sell it as soon as I could. It is only recently that thanks to some mail exchanges wit Sean Trane who was so keen to promote the solo work of this gigantic guitar genius that I decided to give it one more try to this album some thirty five years after having discovered it.

And I was fu..ing damned blown away!!!

Of course, this work sounds more jazz oriented than the band's work. But the Latin-rock influences are so plenty! Wonderful percussion work. But with Cobham, Peraza and my beloved Michael Shrieve there couldn't be another result.

I can only confirm that this album is a fantastic follow-up to the incredible ''Caranvanserai'' (which I have rated with five stars, like any of the previous ''Santana'' album - yes, I love this band).

Not all tracks are fabulous, but I can feel so many emotions out there, that I can only urge you to run and have a listen to this great album.

The absolute masterpiece IMHHO is the long ''Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord''; A wonderful jamming track full of passion, SUBLIME guitar of course (with two guys like Carlos and John this is the least one can expect). For those of you who are familiar with some live experiences with the great man, you will of course recognize cues from the live ''Lotus''. Especially some ''Samba Pa Ti'' extravaganza. Do I need to tell that I am just found of these?

This track is just a furious hymn to guitar. A monument of jamming. A miracle of improvisation. A jewel of Latin rock music. A fabulous treat to any ''Santana'' fans. A highlight. A masterpiece.

The good thing is that most of the remaining tracks are also very good. Not as great of course, but '' A Love Supreme'' and '' The Life Devine'' sound so pleasant to my ears that I can only rate this album with four stars.

At times, it is so important to listen again to an album. Even if like in this case, thirty five years were necessary for me to realize how good was this work!

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#192181)
Posted Sunday, December 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Coltrane Devotion

Both, John and Carlos, were highly regarded guitarists from the time, highly praised for their unique fusion style each in their own band, they united forces to make a simply stunning 'guitar' album, with a great mood all along the album, with the mediative feel typical of John and Carlos. You can also count with other great musicians, like jazz organist, Larry Young, giving some incredible mysterious Hammond touches to the album, as well as the fierceful drummer, Billy Cobham. Also there's some percussion heading more to the Santana style of music, though it doesn't stand out as in Santana's music, though still giving a great touch to the album.

Not a typical Fusion album for sure, since the focus on the guitar is more than obvious, but most of 'Love Devotion Surrender' is very Mahavishnu-headed in terms of energy. While ELP were making Classical adaptions, McLaughlin and Santana did two Jazz adaptions, both from the master saxophonist, John Coltrane. The 'A Love Supreme' take is a ferocious opener, both guitarists binding their instruments to deliver a unique experience. 'Naima' is done acoustically, a nice and gentle rendition still retaining the aura of the rest of the album.

The duo's own composition are as strong as both covers, especially the very emotional, Santana-headed, 'Let's Go Into The House of the Lord'. 'The Life Divine' shows McLaughlin's first composition to feature the 'love' lyrics and vocals that would appear in the future Orchestra line-up.

Also, since the encounter of Santana with John, Santana from 1973 onwards slightly changed his guitar style, adding some very Mahavishnu-esque licks.

As a conclusion, I'll just say that 'Love Devotion Surrender' is simply a must-have for serious guitarists, and of course if you're a fan of either Santana or Mahavishnu, this is essential. There's 'Blow by Blow', Passion & Warfare', 'Surfing with the Alien' et al, and there's 'Love Devotion Surrender' which blows those albums away in terms of composition. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#202677)
Posted Saturday, February 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars When I saw the album cover with the title "Love Devotion Surrender" and the picture of John and Carlos walking along talking in their white suits I thought this was going to be one of those mellow spiritual acoustic records. Not ! These two legendary guitarists with the same religous beliefs got together (bringing some of their band mates with them) to create some original music and at the same time pay homage to John Coltrane. The wild card of the group was Larry Young from TONY WILLIAMS LIFETIME. Interesting that Jan Hammer is here but just to play some percussion, Larry would handle the keyboards. I should also mention that Carlos was a big fan of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and John McLaughlin, he saw them play live in concert many times, in fact Carlos would be changing his bands style to that same Fusion flavour.

"A Love Supreme" and "Naima" are both John Coltrane songs. The first one opens with noisy guitar sounds coming in all directions (haha). Not very melodic but it settles down with percussion and organ. McLaughlin and Santana start to trade solos 2 minutes in until 5 minutes in. Amazing stuff. Organ and percussion continue as we get some almost spoken vocals. Such a trippy groove to the end. Great track ! "Naima" is filled with intricate acoustic guitar melodies throughout. "The Life Divine" is a McLaughlin tune and my favourite. The guitars sound much better here and I like the vocal line that is spoken over and over. "The love divine is yours and mine". Check out the guitar after 3 minutes ! The drumming is prominant after 5 minutes as the guitars rip it up. So emotional. Organ before 8 minutes.

"Let's Go Into The House Of The Lord" is led early by guitar, organ and bass. Drums come and go.The first part of this song isn't very melodic. That changes after 3 minutes thankfully. Excellent section until around 7 minutes. Organ before 7 1/2 minutes comes to the fore. So much going on. Melodic guitar 9 minutes in until after 12 minutes when they turn aggressive. "Meditation" is a McLaughlin tune with keyboards and acoustic guitars leading the way on this short track.

It's almost a dream to have these two guitar masters playing together along with many of their band-mates. Easily 4 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#215717)
Posted Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Second Carlos Santana solo album is a gem. If there are plenty of blues-rock or psychodelic- rock roots in "Santana" band early albums ( I love them all as well), this album is pure fusion. Of course, main reason of these changes is partnership with great jazz-rock guitarist John McLaughlin ( and almost all important members of his band - Billy Cobham/Jan Hammer - are participated on this record as well).

We have long compositions there mainly filled with soft guitar duelling between two great guitarists from different worlds - british jazz-rock hero McLaughlin and mexican/american Latin -rock star Carlos Santana. Music consists mainly of melted guitar soloing ,but not agressive, as in rock tradition, but soft rounded, with strong Latin scent. Of course, some roots of Indian musical culture presented there as well.

A bit pity that perfect rhythm section is used there only as background for two great guitarists. But all in all, the album is great combination of two styles melted in one - real FUSION.

Highly recommended for all fusion lovers! Could be a bit unusual for fans of early Santana's band works.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#242997)
Posted Monday, October 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
UMUR
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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Love Devotion Surrender" is a collaborative album release by US jazz rock/fusion artist Carlos Santana and UK jazz rock/fusion artist John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra). The album was released between the two Santana albums "Caravanserai (1972)" and "Welcome (1973)" and between the two Mahavishnu Orchestra albums "Birds of Fire (1973)" and "Between Nothingness and Eternity (1973 live album)". The lineup feature various members from Mahavishnu Orchestra and Santana but "Love Devotion Surrender" is more than anything the combined effort of the two guitarists. The album was released through CBS in the UK and Columbia in the US. It was certified Gold in 1973.

There are five tracks on the album. Two shorter mellow tracks ("Naima" and "Meditation") and three longer jazz rock/fusion tracks ("A Love Supreme", "The Life Divine" and "Let's Go Into The House of the Lord"). The two shorter songs are great for the variation of the album and serve as some much needed breathers between the quite furious fusion tracks. The three fusion tracks are the main pieces on the album and what pieces they are. The music on the album is almost entirely instrumental but there are a few chanting vocals spread out on the album. The trademark Santana latin percussion element is present on some tracks, bit it´s the powerful fusion drumming that is dominant.

"A Love Supreme" (a John Coltrane penned track) opens the album with some great duel guitar soloing by Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin. The difference between their tone and choice of notes are instantly audible. Carlos Santana´s warm, floating and organic playing versus John McLaughlin´s more cold, experimental and clinical ditto. They compliment each other to perfection on this album. "Naima" is a shorter acoustic and classical inspired track. Greatly enjoyable and a breather after the fierce fusion of the opening track. "The Life Divine" is a John McLaughlin penned track and the most inaccessible track on the album. It took me a few listens to appreciate but it´s an excellent song. "Let's Go Into The House of the Lord", which is a traditional arranged by Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin, is the centerpiece on "Love Devotion Surrender". Listening to that track the first time my jaw simply dropped. 15:45 minutes of pure bliss. While there are plenty of shredding guitar soloing on the track (and on the album in general), it´s strangely melodic and memorable. The album ends with the calm "Meditation".

The musicianship is outstanding on the album. Some of the greatest jazz rock/fusion players in the world are present on this album. Paired with a great organic sound production and some intriguing songwriting "Love Devotion Surrender" is what I´d call a jazz rock/fusion masterpiece. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#247262)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The combination of Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin, together with members of both men's respective bands, producing an album revisiting the music of John Coltrane proves to be less than the sum of its parts. The fusion treatment of Coltrane's works is interesting, but can hardly stand up to Coltrane's original performances - I personally find that, perhaps because they were composed long before the fusion revolution, the songs fit much better in an older tradition of experimental jazz and don't translate well to a fusion treatment. As for the original pieces, you're left with the impression that both men were keeping the best material back for their day jobs. An interesting collaboration, but not an essential one.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#501567)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Welcome to a guitar lover's paradise !! SANTANA meets MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. These two lead guitar virtuosos, Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin, put together this tremendous album in respect to John Coltrane and their very own religious beliefs. Along for the ride are some members from their respective bands, Billy Cobham, Don Alias and Jan Hammer (all on the drums !!), Larry Young (organ) Armando Peraza and James (Mingo) Lewis (perc.) and Doug Rauch (bass). The album features 3 blistering extended jams - Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme', McLaughlin's 'The Life Divine' and a traditional piece 'Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord', as well as 2 shorter acoustic pieces - another Coltrane piece with 'Naima', and McLaughlin's 'Meditation'. One thing I admire is how these talented musicians have transcribed traditional Jazz works into rocking balls of fire. Vocals are sparsely used, mainly repetitive chanting, but subtle. The double whammy of the guitarists, with their own distinctive sound and stylings, shine brightly throughout, but it's the effervescent rhythm work that lays the precisely textured groundwork which allows the dynamic duo to trade licks in a most carefree, and dare I say it, indulgent, fashion that doesn't outstay its welcome. They must've had a truly spiritual experience doing this recording. Young's tastefully tonal Hammond work adds a beautiful dimension to all this, resulting in an album that's always a pleasure to return to. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#637724)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars A first time studio collaboration between two "enlightened" and virtuous guitar players, playing a cheerful and full of a "show of hands" rendition of John Coltrane's 1964, own kind of prayer , which went by the name of "A Love Supreme".

The best part, besides the obvious intention of the concept, is precisely the "clash" of styles, the "original" composition diversifies into. Somehow the album launches from there to a variety of songs, that some are independent of Coltrane's composition and highlight themselves because of the same. These songs in turn, make this work, sound richer in musical ideas and approaches.

A well balanced combination between Santana's "latin" flavor blended with the "all converted" Indo/Raga/Jazz of McLaughlin's "transformed" guitar and his approach of playing. Both musicians respect each other, but the "concept" and orientation of the music they emulate (religious like), has as a performing requirement, to be played with the innermost "JOY" you are able to achieve.

So, expect a show of hands, a blend of styles, a focused concept and goal, that although it could be tendentious by them or pre-judiced by new listeners, it is neither exclusive nor pretentious. In fact the Jazz tagging helps, considering, it contains a fair amount of impro like heartfelt, energetic performances by every member of the ensemble (lots of percussions).

I might even think, John Coltrane will happily approve on, these guitarist's rendition of his famous recording. ....I myself still hold it in my music collection. ****4 PA stars.

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Send comments to admireArt (BETA) | Report this review (#1097870)
Posted Sunday, December 22, 2013 | Review Permalink

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