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Carlos Santana - Santana Brothers CD (album) cover


Carlos Santana

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Although Carlos doesn't place this album in his solo album discography in his own website, this would be the best place to file it and therefore it would be the last solo album (to my knowledge, anyway) and it is rather a worthy one to. The album unites Carlos with his brother Jorge and his nephew Jorge Hernandez, all three guitarists. So obviously you would expect a guitar feast, and in some ways, this is one. But hardly a stupid union of guitar shredders, this album is full of delicate ambiances, a subtle marriage of styles and influences. The mystic artwork gracing the booklet might be a little overdone, but overall, this might be Carlos better 90's moment.

Starting with the superb transcendental Transmutation all the way through the superb (if very slightly cheesy) rendition of Joachim Rodrigo's Aranjuez, the early part of the album is close to excellent. The musical direction after that tends to meander a bit aimlessly, but the albums remains quite agreeable and glides effortlessly and smoothly onwards until its very low-key end with the diminutive (and weakest) Morning In Marin (County, I suppose). One of the main (positive) characteristics of this album is that the usual 80's-early 90's drums sounds is absent from this disc, which had not been the case in Carlos's band output. Another amusing thing to guess blindly who is playing which part (Carlos' are relatively easy to pick out) and you'll surprised to find out that talent is a family trait.

While not absolutely essential, Brother's is probably Santana's best album (both solo and group) since 83's Shango, even if his solo career is more even than the group's discography, this album gets a solid three stars, and clinching the half-star on top.

Report this review (#97154)
Posted Sunday, November 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars There was a long time since Carlos didn't release any interesting album: nor as a ''solo'' artist nor with this band (the last being ''Zebop'' in .1981 as far as I'm concerned). Ages ago when this record was released.

This one holds some very good Latin-rock tracks of which ''Luz, Amor Y Vida'' is my favourite one. But there are some more that can be easily related with this genre. Not that it is mandatory during a solo career to sound like your band; but as a very, very old ''Santana'' fan (1970) it is always with great pleasure that I'm listening to a track as ''Contigo'' (together with you).

Each ''Santana'' lover will be submerged with pleasure while listening to such a beautiful piece of music. The great ''En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor'' offers the same delights.

This album is very pleasant actually. Of course, I am biased. So, you should maybe take this into consideration while reading this review, but I have never been a blind fan. Maybe somewhat indulgent some times, but not too much (just look at my high number of one star ratings for the band 's career).

My love for the man (and band) is what it is: when it is good, I tell so. Exactly the same when the opposite takes place. When I listen to such gorgeous guitar sounds as during ''La Danza'', I am just under influence.

What I am lacking maybe, is the scarce role of percussions in this album, but this is not relatively too significant (these can be heard during the upbeat ''The Trip'' or ''Reflections'').

Anyway, this is a fine album, and I am really enthusiastic about it. By far the best of Carlos music for about thirteen years. That's quite a long time! And to be honest, since then, no more album comes close (with original work I mean). In terms of rating, I can't go lower than four stars; which means a real good album.

Muchas gracias, hombre! Estaré ''contigo'' todavía mucho tiempo.

Report this review (#198380)
Posted Saturday, January 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I marked this album with 3 stars but probably it should be at least 3,5. On the other hand Santana fan could say that it deserves 4 stars.

Three great guitars by three great musicians: Jorge Santana, Carlos Hernandez and finally Carlos Santana. I always enjoy listening to this album. It is truly a guitar feast. VERY MELODIC, mostly instrumental album. Characteristic Santana sound with Spanish influences. You can hear here both electric and acoustic parts.

I also like the strong guitar on the first track Transmutation/Industrial or on eight track Brujo (for me it is like Joe Satriani sound from his 1995 album Joe Satriani).

If you are a fan of Carlos Santana you will like this album very much. If you like guitar albums it is also a music for you.

Report this review (#264777)
Posted Sunday, February 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Quite rare Carlos Santana solo album (first in 7 yrs after "Blues For Salvador"). OK, not purely solo release - with "Brothers" (guitarists Jorge Santana and Carlos Hernandez). But anyway, more solo release than Santana's band album.

The album opens with serious guitar fusion composition "Transmutation/ Industrial" and for a moment new listener can expect experimental jazz fusion album in a manner of his duets with McLaughlin or Alice Coltrane. No, it was opener only - but what a pleasant moment!

Starting from album's second composition everything returns to its places: Latin rock and Latin fusion supported by three guitarists. Sound is almost minimalistic - drums and percussion on some songs (Carlos plays percussion himself as well) and bassist Myron Dove on opener. But I think it is a good decision - great Latin guitar sound without over-production sounds better in 90-s than wall of sound for sure.

All melodies are catchy,soulful and you will easily recognize Carlos electric guitar on every song. OK, even if some moments will remind you Santana's early Latin blues rock, you will always feel that this album comes not from early 70-s: sound is more mellow and polished.

Album is full-instrumental (what is more plus than minus for Santana's works from 90-s). For sure, this is three guitarist albums, then don't expect complex sound of different instruments. Latin soulful melodies and Carlos guitar sound are both more important there than musicianship virtuosity.

Somewhere in the middle of the album you will possibly realize that songs all are melodic and soulful, but a bit ... similar to each other. Yes, Santana for years use similar tricks and melodies, and starting from late 70-s you will hardly find his album with concentrated musical material. More often there are one-two great songs, and all other professional material to fill the space.

This album is not much different, but the difference is filling material there is of better quality than usual. At the end of listening you will hardly remember any separate song, but all them will sound similar - and nice.

Last album's song "Morning In Marin " is a bit different again - aerial down tempo composition, but farf from excellent. I think nine energetic melodic soulful Latin rock/fusion compositions in line (between album's opener and the last song) are too much, and to add two three compositions of different speed,rhythm and sound in between would be a big advantage. But - we have what we have: best Santana's album from 90-s, and pleasant listening especially for Latin rock/fusion music fans.

Report this review (#290537)
Posted Friday, July 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I like this album much more than most of Carlos Santana's later material. It actually features guitar excellence over cheesy pop songs, where Santana can excel. And he shares the spotlight with his brother Jorge, and Nephew Carlos Hernandez.

The album starts with a fiery guitar intro by all three family members, a good omen for this set. The album then settles in to a mixture of latin rock, reggae, and fusion style rock tunes. The compositions are very loose. It seems that they were more interested in coming up with riffs that they could solo over, rather than much orchestrated instrumentation. That's not a bad thing. The three all play with a similar rich style, that makes this set work.

Report this review (#424442)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011 | Review Permalink

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