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Carlos Santana - Blues For Salvador CD (album) cover


Carlos Santana

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars In mid 1989, I recorded in a videocassette from a T.V. videos programme the promotional video of the song called "Bella". The videoclip, done in black and white, shows a very sensual young woman dancing to the song, alone and with his boyfriend, in the sand and in a room too. Carlos Santana appears briefly playing the guitar, also in the beach, and he and keyboard player Chester Thompson also appear playing the song in the studio. It is one of the best promotional videos I have seen, very well done. Of course, I also liked the song a lot, and all this led me to buy the "Blues for Salvador" album in the next year.

I don`t undestand why this album was released as a solo album from Carlos Santana, because it really is a mixture of apparently solo tracks with some alternate versions of songs previously released in some albums by the band called Santana. Anyway, it is a very good album, IMO.

The album starts with "Bailando / Aquatic Park". The first part of this song is an instrumental piece full of percussion instruments plus Carlos`lead guitar. The second part has a singer, whose voice sounds more like from a Black singer. The song as a whole is very good.

The next song is the beautiful "Bella". Keyboard player Chester Thompson (not to be confused with Genesis`tour drummer also called Chester Thompson) plays very good keyboard atmospheres, while Carlos plays a vey good guitar solo, playing melodies, with his guitar sounding very influenced by Jazz guitar styles. In fact, in the cover notes, Carlos explains that in this piece of music, dedicated to his daughter Stella, "is also an expression of my respect and admiration for these musicians:Wes Montgomery, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, T. Bone Walker and John McLaughlin". The song is similar in parts to "Europa" and others by Santana, but the keyboards and the percussion instruments created very good musical atmospheres to support Carlos`very good guitar playing.

"I`m Gone" is a very `80s piece of pop music in style, with electronic drums and very good keyboards.

I think that the next song called "Trane" was dedicated to John Coltrane. It has Tony Williams playing energetic drums. Again, it also has very good playing by Carlos and Chester.

"Deeper, Dig Deeper", a song also included in Santana`s "Freedom" album, also appears in this album in an alternate version. It is an instrumental piece of music with programmed drum machine, keyboards and Carlos playing a guitar solo.

"Mingus" is a brief instrumental pice of music, dedicated to Charlie Mingus, played with keyboards and guitar.

"Now That You Know" is an instrumental piece of music recorded live during Santana`s 1985 tour. It is really a Rock song improvised on stage, with Indian atmospheres created by the keyboards. It really shines how good is the band playing in concert.

"Hannibal", in a different version from the one which appeared in Santana`s "Zebop" album, is a very good song, with some Brazilian music influences and a bit of Jazz-Rock jammimg at the end o fthe song. Carlos played acoustic and electric guitars. The song also has some lyrics maybe sung in Portuguese (I`m not sure of the language).

The album closes with a very good Blues instrumental song, called "Blues for Salvador", played by Chester and Carlos. If I remember well, this song won a Grammy for the best instrumental performance on an album.

In conclusion, this is a very good album. The songs were mostly composed by Carlos and Chester, and again, I can`t understand why this album wasn`t released as part of the Santana band`s discography instead of being released as a solo album.

Report this review (#95805)
Posted Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars While Carlos Santana's last solo album to date may be misleading because of its title, this is yet another superb fusion album that screams to be heard. This might be Carlos being the closest (in some respects anyway) to ECM jazz-rock ever.

With three (four actually) different line-ups, that album lacks cohesion, though and almost develops a schizophrenic nature. The highlights of the album are the opening track, the Trane homage are clearly from the A line-up (see the booklet), while the B line-up is unfortunately very actualised for the era especially drum-wise. Most of the album glides on relatively effortlessly (but not that smoothly for the above-mentioned reasons), but never manage to reach the spirit of Oneness or Swing Of Delight.

Not bad per se, but nothing worth rushing to the store for either, and not really essential. Still worthy of a three star rating, though.

Report this review (#96314)
Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This was a departure for Carlos that took advantage of the new electronic/percussive sounds of the time and though this gives the recording an uncharacteristic 'mechanical' sound that Santana fans likely won't take to, that doesn't mean this record is a failure. On the contrary, it is a treat to hear this master of heart and technique sit down and just play. Sure the compositions are easily forgotten and there are no 'hits', but for appreciators of Carlos Santana the guitarist, it is a tasty little offering and allows the instrumental prowess of this player to come through. Wholly uncommercial, 'Blues for Salvador' is a sweet respite for him and a welcome break in the hugeness of this man's legend.
Report this review (#97739)
Posted Wednesday, November 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars After a very poor ''Havana Moon'', Carlos could only do better with this work. Unfortunately, there are these two vocalists (Alex Ligertwood and Greg Walker) I never could stand and who were also raging on lots of ''Santana'' album after the departure of Gregg Rolie.

This album holds some very good guitar work from the master (which was not the case on his prior solo album), and the beat goes from traditional Latin music (''Bailando'') to funk (''Deeper.''), from syrupy music (''I'm Gone'') to quite rocking mood during ''Trane''.

There is one long (live) track featured on this album (over ten minutes), which might well indicate that creativity was not at its peak but ''Now That You Know'' is a fine moment of Latin rock music which reminds me at times of the early days of the band.

All in all, the good moments are not too few on this album. One is not facing a masterpiece of course (those were released a long, long time before this record), but if soft jazz-Latin-rock is of your liking, why not listening to this ''Blues For Salvador''?

''Hannibal'' holds some fine percussion works and combines excellent guitar parts with poor vocal ones (as usual should I say); the closing and title track is all subtlety and harmony. A wonderful trip into Carlos emotional guitar phantasmagoria.

Three stars (but this is rated on the high end by a life time fan).

Report this review (#197074)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2009 | Review Permalink

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