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Santana Borboletta album cover
3.66 | 224 ratings | 21 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spring Manifestations (1:05)
2. Canto De Los Flores (3:39)
3. Life is Anew (4:22)
4. Give and Take (5:44)
5. One With the Sun (4:22)
6. Aspirations (5:10)
7. Practice What You Preach (4:31)
8. Mirage (4:43)
9. Here and Now (3:01)
10. Flor De Canela (2:09)
11. Promise of a Fisherman (8:18)
12. Borboletta (2:47)

Total time 49:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Leon Patillo / vocals, acoustic (8) & electric (3,5) pianos, organ (4)
- Carlos Santana / guitars, vocals (11), percussion (2,7,8,9)
- Tom Coster / acoustic (4,9) & electric (2,9,10,11) pianos, organ (3,5,8), Moog (4,8), Hammond (7,10,11)
- Jules Broussard / tenor (4) & soprano (6,9,11) saxes
- David Brown / bass (7,8)
- Michael Shrieve / drums
- Leon "Ndugu" Chancler / drums (6,9)
- Armando Peraza / congas, bongos, soprano sax (10)
- Jose 'Chepito' Areas / congas, timbales (4)

- Stanley Clark / bass (6,9,10,11)
- Flora Purim / percussion, sound effects (1), vocals (11)
- Airto Moreira / percussion (1,11,12), sound effects (1), drums (10,11), vocals (11)
- Michael Carpenter / Echoplex (2)

Releases information

ArtWork: Ed Lee with Barry Imhoff & Carlos Santana (design)

LP NULL PC 33135 (Jan, 1974)

LP CBS/Sony 25AP 826 (1977, Japan)

Numerous LP, MC and CD reisues

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SANTANA Borboletta ratings distribution

(224 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

SANTANA Borboletta reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars This album is unfortunately too often over looked, but represents yet another highlight in the group's discography and a shot at equalling (but not really close) Caravanserai's perfection. Named (I think) on a rare blue Central American butterfly (the background shot is a close-up of its wing's structure), this album is all too discreet for its own good.

Starting on the same birdsong and sheep herd landscapes than its inspiration (but written by jazz-rock great Airto Moreira), you just know you will be in for another superb Santana ride as right after the intro, the first few mid-eastern scales of Canto De Flores directly lead you to heaven. As usual with Santana albums, happiness radiates from every pore of the vinyl record groove and Life Is Anew and Give And Take (both sung and hyper positive) are some of the better sung jazz-rock (I am usually not really a fan of that "thing"), and the vocals do help setting its own feel as opposed to its inspiration. On a lesser level, One With The Sun, while still lovely, is maybe one sung-track too many in a row, but I might be just a bit over-nitpicky. Aspirations quickly repairs this slight flaw with its splendidly cosmic calmness. After the great Practice What You Preach instrumental, one more sung tracks (I must say that Leon Patillo's voice is quite pleasing) the excellent Mirage, the impressive Here and Now is quite a departure from what Santana had us used to and segues into the highly fusional Flor De Canela, before the album climaxes in the lengthy Promise Of A Fisherman, which is not lying in its promise to the listener: although nothing never heard before, we are dealing with one of the last truly great lengthy Santana instrumental here. The closing Airto Moreira-penned track is rather anecdotical, but does close the album in the same intriguing manner it openned.

One of the thngs that differentiates this album from the ultimacy (if you'll allow the creation of a new word for that album) of Caravanserai is Greg Rollie's absence >> both his organs and his voice are aptly replaced and almost equalled. But really, this album has very few to envy to it either, so I will round up its rating to the upper unit, making it also a five star.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I have to say I have a soft spot for Borboletta. It was in some ways a replica release of Caravanserai. The Welcome album sandwiched inbetween. CS reverts back to almost the same lineups on Abraxas era, without Gregg Rolie on vocals and keys. Leon Patillo filling in the lead vocal department. Not bad either! The album excellently ebbs and flows and takes you on another journey,not as decisive as Caravanserai but beautiful all the same. Another great vinyl cover and I have to agree with a fellow reviewer in that this album is highly underrated and is almost the hidden jewel in Santana's archives.The album in it's entirety is superb but highlights for me are ' One with the sun', ' Mirage' and the closer ' Borboletta'. In many ways I prefer Borboletta to Caravanserai but have to admit that it does not quite reach that same dizzy height musically, well almost.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The atmosphere of this album reminds me very much the one of Caravanserai. The very short opener "Spring Manifestations" sounds like its counterpart "Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation". This album clearly enters now into a more latin-jazz-rock-oriented style (already very present in "Welcome"). This is confirmed with the smooth jazzy composition "Canto De Los Flores" : tranquil moment of relaxation.

"Life is Anew" is a very pleasant song : very cool vocals, great guitar and keyboard work at the end of the track. Great Santana music. "Give & Take" has a good intro but the vocal part is dreadful. It is a monotonous funk/jazz track. Not my cup of tea (but if you have read some of my other reviews you know by now my very limited taste for these genres). The next track "One With the Sun" has good percussions again (but I guess that it is all too normal for Santana, right ?) and great guitar from the master."Aspirations" is definitely too jazzy for me : too much sax, although it is smoothed by the great percussion work in the back (thanks Chepito, Armando and Mike). A weak track again.

"Practice What You Preach" starts like "Samba 'Pa Ti, but the vocals here are not really on par. Should have remained an all instrumental, really. The finale of the song is again great for Santana lovers. On the contrary, vocals on "Mirage" are quite good. It is a poppy song (the first one ?). The dual vocal / guitar works very well. "Here & Now" is a jazzy jam track and is the weakest track of the album.

"Flor De Candela" starts great again thanks to the fantastic percussion work. It is a more classic Santana song (at last !). But unfortunately, waaaay too short.

"Promise of a Fisherman" is a typical Santana song of that era : great rythmics, very much keyboard oriented with some good guitar breaks and solid bass work. The guitar was a bit more dominant in the "epic" songs from Caranvanserai but this one is a serious attempt to one of the great Santana number. It is the longest number here (over eight minutes). The highlight. No doubt about it !

The closing number and title track is very weak and useless (hopefully it clocks to less than three minutes). It's the third time that the closing number is rather poor on a Santana album ("Abraxas" and "III" being the other ones). I would say that if they were short of inspiration, they could easily avoid these moments. They do not add anything to the glory of the band.

This album is also the last one for Mike Shrieve (he will leave the band for the supporting tour leading to the live "Lotus" - but still co-producing it). Thanks a lot Mike for these great drumming moments. I will ALWAYS love and remember your fantastic solo during "Soul Sacrifice" at Woodstock. I must admit that the Santana I like the most, is when the band plays his wonderful latin-rock music. Still, this album is a good work. Three stars.

Review by Chicapah
3 stars What the Santana Band had inexplicably contracted during the early 70s could best be diagnosed as Manic Progressive Syndrome, a malady that causes a group to experience extreme highs ("Caravanserai") and seemingly bottomless lows ("Welcome") within the space of one year. While the former album blazed a glorious trail by creating exhilarating combinations of Latin jazz and rock and is now considered one of the greatest ever in that genre, the latter LP was as bland and lifeless as a dead buzzard decomposing on an arid desert floor. With those two extremes in mind, those of us who considered ourselves to be loyal fans had no idea what to expect from "Borboletta." What we got was something in between.

The album starts in a primitive, mystical vein with arrhythmic Brazilian percussion and sound effects provided by Flora Purim and Airto Moreira. But since the group freely utilized highly exotic flavorings on earlier recordings this is not necessarily a bad omen. This brief appetizer called "Spring Manifestations" segues smoothly into "Canto De Los Flores," an instrumental featuring Tom Coster's electric piano that might make you envision canoeing leisurely down a calm rain forest river. Speaking of rain, the first sign of clouds and a tentative step back into tepid "Lite Rock" territory arrives with "Life Is Anew," a mediocre song from Carlos Santana and drummer Michael Shrieve that introduces the vocalizations of Leon Patillo. (Gotta say this much for the guy. His voice is a substantial upgrade from Leon Thomas who was ill suited for Santana's style and only added to the dullness of the previous fiasco.) The song never completely catches fire but it benefits greatly from Coster's stirring organ ride and the long-overdue appearance of Carlos' sumptuous guitar riffs. "Give And Take" is next and FINALLY you get some Santana energy and heat! It's a rockin' tune made even better by the inclusion of some spicy percussion explosions from Armando Peraza's congas and Jose "Chepito" Areas' thrilling timbales. Jules Broussard steps up to add some pizzazz with his tenor saxophone, elevating the whole endeavor.

Unfortunately they can't seem to maintain that lofty altitude as they bring you back down to earth with another MOR sleep-inducer, "One With The Sun." Just as before on "Life Is Anew," for some reason you have to wait until the halfway point in the song before things get moving. Carlos unleashes a fierce guitar solo, Coster injects some piercing keyboards and Shrieve breathes some brimstone from behind his drum kit to keep the tune from putting you under sedation. "Aspirations," the first composition to feature the extraordinary bassist Stanley Clarke, bolts from the gate with Leon Chancler's drums racing at a feverishly fast clip. It seems as if they're about to take you somewhere intriguing but after a few minutes it's disappointingly clear that you're only being led in circles. The chords are constantly changing but there's no discernable melody and Broussard's soprano sax, while wildly emotional, gets too noisy too often to create a memorable ambience. It's a waste of a fine rhythm track if you ask me. Carlos' "Practice What You Preach" has an enticing, bluesy, almost gospel feel at the start as he pours out some soulful guitar licks over a fat Hammond organ churning in the background. But, alas, the band comes meandering in to play yet another easy- listening snooze-fest that fails to provide much of a pulse. "Mirage" follows but it's not much better. They establish a danceable groove at least but Patillo's pop song is just lame.

At this point you might be tempted to abandon all hope of receiving any aural stimulation but all is not lost because the cavalry is on its way (at long last) to rescue the final 15 minutes. "Here and Now" is the first of three interlaced instrumentals that are truly spectacular. After a short free-form beginning a strong rock beat is introduced and the band starts clicking on some sharp accents before jumping into "Flor De Canela" where the tempo revs up another notch or two and Airto Moreira is flat out flying in the jet stream! Clarke's bass stays right with him as the band's dynamics start shooting straight out of the speakers at you. All of this leads directly to the wonderful "Promise of a Fisherman," the album's saving grace. It features a beautiful melody line that strolls in a dreamy half-time over the furiously paced flow of the tune with the percussion sizzling incessantly beneath. Coster shines on the organ once again but this is Carlos' moment in the sun and he delivers a screaming, impassioned performance that even dares to venture into Jimi Hendrix dimensions with some writhing feedback cries and groans. This song is a virtual palace built on prime Santana real estate. I would have hungrily devoured an extra three or four minutes of this spiritualized sublimity but they chose to end things much like they began with Moreira's "Borboletta." It's another weird exploration into the dark recesses of the Amazon jungle with Airto providing spooky medicine man yelps and moans accompanied by tribal snaps, crackles and pops. (For the life of me I don't know why this wasn't a hit single.)

If the group was clinically bipolar on the previous two LPs, this is the Santana band on lithium. (Okay, okay, I'll stop with the metaphors already.) The fact is that "Caravanserai" was the triumphant culmination of almost four years of intense musical growth and phenomenal success. And when the inevitable overhaul of the band came due it meant starting all over at square one and the result was amateurish. "Welcome" was timid and devoid of a unified spirit, necessitating another shakeup of personnel. In that light "Borboletta" should be viewed as a collection of mostly baby steps but it has some dazzling moments that make it a better than average effort and definitely worth a listen. 3.3 stars.

Review by progrules
4 stars Like I already said in my review of Caravanserai I will do only 3 Santana albums (reason: see there). And of those three I think this is the all time greatest by this guitar master and his band. Maybe not even compositionswise but at least where the mood/atmosphere is concerned and also where the arrengement of the songs is concerned. The build up of this album is more than brilliant !

First about the mood/atmosphere factor: this is the only album in my entire collection that always brings me in a fine mood. This album simply breathes summer and sunshine to me. Must be also thanks to the very beginning and the very end of it producing the jungle sounds. That alone is already stunning and brilliant because it's the start of my good mood. After this short overture a very fine instrumental follows in a way only Santana can play them. Talking about atmosphere ! Next three are wonderful accessible songs that flow over in each other very nicely and complete the great mood it can get you into. It's a process, I don't even know how they do it and maybe I'm the only one that experiences this but it works every time !

And if you think this was the best: wrong ! The best is yet to come. Not in the 5 middle songs, they just see to it that you stay in the great mood before the highlight track sets in: Promise of a fisherman. The short song before that sets it in (Flor de Canela) and imperceptibly it flows over in the great rhythmic supersong. I try to drum it along for a quarter of a century now (it's very contagious) but it always causes a pair of sore arms.

The already mentioned jungle sounds round things up with this (almost) masterpiece. Because it's almost I will give it 4 stars but it's actually 4,4.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars If this were an all-instrumental album it would be an easy 4 stars and it would compare quite well with "Caravanserai". Why they brought in this vocalist who sounds like he's from a seventies Motown group I have no idea. It really does ruin for me what is a joy to listen to instrumentally. On a positive note they brought in Airto Moreira on percussion and Stanley Clarke on bass, and both shine brightly on this recording.

"Spring Manifestations" features the sounds of nature and blends into "Canto De Los Flores" where a light beat comes in. Flute and keys come and go in this laid back tune. "Life Is Anew" has vocals unfortunately. The drums and keys stand out and we get some guitar around 3 minutes. "Give And Take" has such an amazing sound of percussion and drums. Vocals around a minute. Organ and guitar later. "One With The Sun" is light with vocals.The guitar is excellent though.

"Aspirations" opens with sounds that build. Sax after a minute. Awesome sound to this one. "Practise What You Preach" features the guitar crying out as the organ floats in the background. It kicks in around 2 minutes and vocals follow. "Mirage" is very catchy with vocals. "Here And Now" opens with sax, piano and cymbals. It settles 2 minutes in to a groove as drums and guitar join in. On "Flor De Caneca" the percussion, organ, guitar, electric piano and drums can all be heard. This is great ! It blends into the longest track "Promise Of A Fisherman". Some killer guitar in this one along with the relentless percussion. "Borboletta" has this tribal percussion and yelling on it.

The drumming / percussion and guitar is incredible on this album. The vocals not so much.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Borboletta is last great Santana studio album from their classic period. It's far from his early blues-rock or jazz-rock albums and contains mostly relaxed Latin-fusion and Latin-pop.

I am sitting now, drinking Cuban coffee at warm room and watching through the window to autumn rain. And the weather report isn't pleasant at all - first snow is coming in two days ( yes, Northern Europe isn't warmest place in the world!). And I am listening to Borboletta...

You know, I think the main value of Borboletta is in it's atmosphere! Starting from very first sound, it's relaxed and very warm album. Santana has a different team of musicians now, including vocalist. So, album is in the same key as Caravanserai, but is less focused and concentrated. And more relaxed. In fact, the music here is something on the edge between latin-fusion and latin-world-pop. But all atmosphere still catching you, and you can feel really pleasant waves coming from that music.

I believe, that Borboletta closes Santatna's classic great albums collection. Later albums are too much pop and are missed earlier Santana's magic. Borboletta still has it for sure!

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars Various elements and situations will be able to be enumerated when talking about the content of this album. The music character that Santana created on the boundary of the time of 1972 made the revolution cohabit with inevitability. The music character of Santana that received one the top from "Caravanserai" in "Lotus" would exactly be establishment of Latin-American music and Rock as uniting and be the appearance of thought.

However, changing places of the musician who had participated in the recording of the album contrary to the height of the album-quality might have had the part where some reformation and the conversion had been done through necessity as directionality of the music character.

The tune of "Welcome" announced in 1973 is said that the idea was abundant. A lot of numbers of tunes existed by saying that the content of this "Welcome" would be put on the market in two classes in the rumor. And, about two is adopted for collection as a result though tunes of abundant numbers had the flow that shifts to this album.

Doug Rauch of Bass player who was contributing to work of initial Santana. And, the situation in which keyboard player's Richard Kermode seceded Santana Band. And, the situation of Michael Shrieve to which resignation had already been decided influenced directionality and the music character a little in this album. The part where directionality to listen by "Welcome" had been corrected a little will have been a part that occurred because such a situation had come in succession.

The music character of Santana at this time is Latin-American music and thought as the result with a sublime element till then. Or, it is likely to have had to create it as music to which the element that reflected a philosophical part was refined further. And, it succeeds in the reflection of the part where Jazz Rock/Fusion is better in the tune by appointing Stanley Clarke and Airto Moreira to the recording for this album.

"Spring Manifestations" gives a sublime impression as a start of the album. The idea that has been done before might be reflected. It goes in the sound of nature as an effect and the listener might be a part in this album in the idea as for the expectation.

The sound of the keyboard that there is an anacatesthesia in the percussion instrument twines round "Canto De Los Flores". The sound of the distorted keyboard progresses quietly with a sensual element. Tom Coster contributes to the tune. The quality of the tune is raised as a music character of Santana exactly refined.

"Life Is Anew" is a tune with the part of mellow from the start of the glittering sound. The song by Leon Patillo gives a good impression. And, guitar Solo of Santana will call impression. The part of such a tune is reflected in a mid-term work of Santana.

"Give And Take" advances with hard Riff and the dash feeling. The taste of fused good Rock might be exactly included in the Latin-American music that Santana created. Groove twines with the song in union. The part of the percussion instrument also contributes very much of course. And, the wind that solo of Sax is new is sent.

As for "One With The Sun", a sensual melody of the song and the obbligati of the guitar are impressive. Development where fast and slow overflows will have the taste of good Jazz/Fusion. The sound of the organ and the flow of ensemble are splendid.

"Aspirations" might be reminiscent of the element of John Coltrane. It might be a very high- quality tune in the tune of this album. The flow that gives a sublime impression is proof to make the music character that Santana exactly cultivated an embodiment splendidly as a tune. The progress of a rhythm with the dash feeling in close relation to the melody of glossy Sax and good Chord creates one space. Ensemble of the percussion instrument is also splendid. The band advances in union.

Ad-Rib of a good guitar for the sound of the organ with a sublime impression twines round "Practice What You Preach". The tune receives Leon Patillo that keeps a constant rhythm and sings gently. This tune also contributes exactly as an impression of this album that fuses Jazz Rock.

As for "Mirage", the melody of Chord and the song of the minor is impressive. The sound of the keyboard is indeed variegated. Jazz/Fusion and the part of Latin have fused splendidly as for this tune. The part in which Santana is skillful has exactly gone out to previous. And, the rhythm of the drum that uses the part of Hi-Hat that repeats Open and Close has good feeling.

"Here And Now" is a tune that had already been completed at time when "Welcome" of the album is produced. The flow of Free Tempo in close relation to glossy soprano Sax is a little reminiscent of the element of Coltrane. And, a constant guitar in close relation to the rhythm and the sound of the band continue the tension.

"Fflor De Canela" makes the dash feeling with a good flow of the percussion instrument with fast Passage in Bass of Stanley Clarke. The sound of the keyboard has the movement and quietness and advances. This tune might be one space that Santana creates. The impression running through in the space at a fast speed is exactly a color of Santana.

"Promise Of A Fisherman" connects from "Fflor De Canela" and is performed. The tune heads for the top with the dash feeling continued. Guitar and chorus. And, the dash feeling and the unison of the keyboard. Everything unites into one.

"Borboletta" is a tune that Airto Moreira offered. The impression of which the color of Airto Moreira has gone out strongly is exactly given. This tune that decorates the end of the album is composed of the part of the voice and the percussion instrument. A different impression might be given in the entire composition.

Santana splendidly united Jazz Rock and the element of Latin by this album. This flow might be established to some degree and become an element that formed a mid-term work. And, one the top is received in idea and impressionist school "Moonflower" of this album. Album Art using the special paper that was called "Aluglas" also got into the news.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Borboletta is arguably the last great Latin tinged fusion album by Santana, as hereafter they tended to a more accessible sound. Spring Manifestations and the title track bookend the album and create a warm, spiritual atmosphere featuring percussion and sound effects. The remainder of the album is equally divided between songs and instrumentals, with the 8 minute long Promise Of A Fisherman being the undoubted standout. This track begins with a lovely soulful melody that leads to a lengthy central section with scorching guitar and swirling Hammond organ, before returning to the original melody.

The instrumental Canto De Los Flores features a laid-back jazzy groove with chiming electric piano and percussion prominent. Life Is Anew is an upbeat song with the Fender- Rhodes to the fore once again. A short organ solo heralds the first appearance of Carlos on the album with a searing guitar solo. He seems to take a back seat much of the time which allows the other musicians to create and develop their own moods. Give And Take is a funky synth-led song featuring Carlos on vocals. This is one of the longest tracks on the recording at 5.44, and contains some raw guitar licks, dynamic percussion and sax. Track 5, One With The Sun, is a smooth mid-tempo song with a middle section where searing guitar and Hammond take solos in turn. Aspirations is a jazz-spirited piece with percussion and atonal sax that creates a spacey atmosphere.

Practice What You Preach begins sparsely with just guitar and sustained Hammond until the percussionists speed up the tempo into the main song... nice. The smooth relaxed groove of Mirage features synth, electric piano, organ and another searing guitar solo. Track 9, Here And Now, is a free form piece with prominent sax and phasing effects. it is also the weakest track here, in my opinion. Flor De Canela has a quick tempo and features yet more shredding guitar, Hammond and Fender-Rhodes. This song leads into the aforementioned Promise Of A Fisherman.

Borboletta is a warm, pleasant album. The mood is enhanced by the fact that the tracks segue into one another, a technique I always find pleasing. There are many great guitar solos, but Carlos does not dominate the sound. There are swathes of superb keyboards and percussion, as well as some sax. Overall, this is a good album that just falls short of the classics Abraxas and Caravanserai.

Review by The Quiet One
4 stars Caravanserai Part 2

With the departure of core member, Gregg Rolie, and rhythm guitarist, Tom Schon, the Santana band seemed to have suffered a big loss, but for the fans amusement, Santana managed to release yet another great jazz fusion album that resembled the percussive and atmospheric fest of the masterful Caravanserai.

Tom Coster, lead keyboardist of the new line-up, filled Rolie's shoes perfectly; playing abundant Hammond- Organ, and occasionally some great electric piano fills. The rest of the band is pretty much the same that played in Caravanserai, the sole exception being new lead vocalist, Leon Patillo, who does a great job, however at first listens you'll find his vocals hard to get into since he's stylistically different to Gregg's splendid singing.

As for what Borboletta presents, it's another top-notch performance of latin-inflected jazz rock with great emotional and funky bits. The album is meant to be listened all through without detracting from a song that is because the songs flow one to the other smoothly, just like in Caravanserai. Borboletta's highlight is certainly the continuity of Here and Now/Flor de Canela/Promise of a Fisherman, 13 minutes of Santana at his finest.

Borboletta, however, is not a carbon-copy of Caravanserai. One of the main differences is the already mentioned new vocalist, Leon Patillo, who presents a more accessible sound. Also, there's the occasional appearance of the saxophone which adds an even jazzier feel.

Overall this is a must-have for Santana fans, and it's another excellent addition to your jazz-rock collection.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 'Borboletta' was Santana's 6th album and is generally regarded as his last great one, often compared to 'Caravanserai' even. I have to agree, this is a very warm and mellow album that concentrates on atmosphere rather then hit potential. The band sounds relaxed and the album flows very freely and spontaneous, which is much appreciated.

I might have liked it better without the vocals though, new vocalist Leon Patillo is too soul and mellow for me. Especially songs like 'Life is Anew' and 'Practice What You Preach' aren't compatible with the darker corners of my mind. The one hit from this album, 'Give and Take' is quite enjoyable though, this one got some real bite and a nice groove. Also 'Mirage' is quite ok. The main part of the album is instrumental though, consisting of subtle dreamy Latin jazz and with some real standout tracks like 'Aspirations' and 'Flor De Canela/Promise of the Fisherman'.

Overall a great smooth and easy-going Latin fusion album that still maintains all the sophistication and musicality that jazz fans will appreciate in Santana. Whether this is an excellent album for you will depend on your appreciation of the soft soul vocals that appear on a couple of songs.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Drawing inspiration from the fusion work of Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, who were a key component of the original Return to Forever lineup as well as contributing to Santana's previous album Welcome. When you add guest appearances from Purim, Moreira and Stanley Clarke on this album, that goes some way to explain why it sometimes sounds like Santana's take on Return to Forever's first two albums. The result is an interesting enough album, but it seems to constantly hover between plunging into the Latin-tinged fusion it outlines on the one hand and moving back towards a more mainstream sound on the other.
Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
3 stars A tale of two albums.

I'm not exactly sure what was going through Santana's mind when he put together this album. On one hand, you have an excellent batch of interesting Latin flavored jazz-rock tunes with fiery solos and the focal point clearly on the music. However, on the other you have a fairly large dose of droll mid 70s pop-rock/pop-jazzrock tunes that take Santana's commercial aspect to a new high (or low depending on your point of view). Luckily for this album, the former slightly outweighs the latter and what you have here is a schizophrenic album that is half deserving of high marks and half deserving to only be enjoyed by people who like commercial music.

First the good. Tracks like Canto De Los Flores, Promise of a Fisherman, and Aspirations show a wonderful side of Santana's music. A steady percussive background, attention grabbing and extended solos, focus on the music itself, and at times risk taking, all wrapped up in a jazz-rock atmosphere (that contains the best of the business). This is best exemplified with the final 'suite' of Here And Now through Promise Of A Fisherman (with Borboletta acting as a lovely coda to my ears). Within these 15 minutes contains all the promise and expertise that Santana can display (and I assume the fuel to get this band added to the archives). Unfortunately, there is also a fair amount of material that takes the other side of the coin. Non adventurous, lyric driven, saccharine, fairly monotonous overall, and rather bland. Songs like Life is Anew, One With the Sun, and Mirage are probably the greatest offenders in this area. Then you have Practice What You Preach, which starts off as a wonderful jazz stew and then morphs it's way into poppy jazz-rock fluff. This also leads me to another problem I have with this album. It almost feels incomplete to my ears. Like Practice What You Preach for sounds as if it's edited down from a 'full' studio version. As if the opening musical landscape could return but then the fade out begins without any real fulfillment to my ears. The title track also feels a bit 'cut-off', as do others with the infamous fadeout. That is probably my biggest concern with this album...that it could have been so much more than what the final product is.

All in all, this is an average album. When it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it's quite poor. Without all the pop faff, this would easily be a 4.5-5 star album (even though it would be quite a bit shorter and more of an EP). But, how it is presented I can only give it a 3 star rating. (Sidenote: As I re-read this review it does seem like I'm a bit harsh on Borboletta. So I just wanted to add that there is some really good stuff on this album that anyone with a taste of the jazz world would enjoy.) This is by no means one of Santana's stronger albums all things considered, and would be a stretch to my ears to call it essential or even a great addition to any prog rock music collection. Don't start here, but if you're a fan of the band it would probably be worthy to pick this up at some point. 3 stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars 3,5 stars really. Borboletta is a quite underrated album in my opinion. Coming after the great shock that was Welcome, it deepens into the latin jazz-rock fusion once more, but with far better results. Where Welcome is a bit disjoined and without much focus, this one has a flow that works as a whole. The brazilian connection was also straighten with the presence of famed percussionist Airto Moreira and his wife, singer Flora Purim. Moreira wrote the opening vignette and the closing, title track (again it is far more a vignette than a proper song, even if it is far longer) and Santana also recorded another brazilian songwriterīs classic song, this time Dorival Caymmi (Promise of The Fisherman). However, the bossa nova traits of Welcome are gone and the vocal songs are much more into the soul/funk/pop vein (with some jazzy flourishes). The instrumentals on the other side are pure latin fusion style. The interesting note about it is the fact that this is probably the one Santana album that the guitar is less featured than on any other of his entire discography: to the point that two instrumental tracks (like the 5 minute+ Aspirations) donīt have any guitar at all!

Like on Welcome, Carlos Santana looks like the odd man out: a melodic guitarist that plays some fine solos, but nothing like a jazz guitarist would do. To make sure the songs turned out on that way, he surrounds himself with capable musicians of that field: keyboardist Tom Coster, sax player Jules Broussard, bass virtuoso Stanley Clarke and jazz drummer Leon "Nugdu" Chancler, plus the aforementioned Moreira and Purim. When Carlos plays is like listening to a rock guitar player guesting on a fusion album. Singer/keyboards player Leon Patillo steps in and he has a nice voice, although not as powerful and incisive as Gregg Rollie. Too bad that this album would also be the last one with Michael Shrieve, for he would get sick and eventually out of the band. He was the main influence in the changing of style of the band. He introduced Carlos to the world of jazz and, most specific, of John Coltrane. Without him on board it is no coincidence that he would drop the jazz fusion elements very soon.

Borboletta (butterfly in portuguese, although, intentionally or not, it is misspelled, it should have only one t) is an interesting album that takes a few spins to get really into it, but it is worth it. Itīs more concise and coherent than Welcome. The combination of the jazzy instrumentals and popish vocal songs may seem strange, but somehow they work.This is a different Santana, no doubt, but a good one.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Worldly Fusion. Spring Manifestations is just nature sounds and it segues into the next track. Canto De Los Flores is has ominous keys over whirling about for a bit over a Latin beat. The keys then settle into some calming jazz playing. The previous tracks ends on a fade out and Life Is Ane ... (read more)

Report this review (#2593333) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Thursday, September 9, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Borboletta marks the start of the departure from heavy fusion and experimentation to a slightly more streamlined sound that is is less heavy a more radio friendly. However, at least half of the album is still rooted in the latest intensive jaz-rock/latin fusion realm. The first two tracks pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#2343536) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #14 Hasn't aged a bit, it feels like it could have been recorded yesterday, but then again I think that generally speaking Fusion music eludes more easily the riddles of time. And certainly is the case of this album from 1974 so well crafted, so inspired, that anyone can ... (read more)

Report this review (#1490987) | Posted by Quinino | Sunday, November 22, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Here you have one of the best jazz rock fusion albums of history! Firstly, I must say that I was very exceptic with all Santana albums, mainly because I always thought he was an overrated and hiped guitarist, this happened 'cause I discovered him listening his later and solo stuff first, a big ... (read more)

Report this review (#178917) | Posted by Sol_Trigger | Tuesday, August 5, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Almost a masterpiece if it weren't for all the singing, and I'm not saying the singers are bad, oh no they all have very nice voices and everything, but I still feel they're out of place in some songs. After that the album is flawless. The spring + canto introduction is heavenly, not to mention t ... (read more)

Report this review (#168527) | Posted by Hans | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sometimes (in fact : often) underrated, Borboletta is not the best Santana release, but is really nice anyway. The longest track (Promise Of A Fisherman) is by far the best track here, but I really like Life Is Anew, Mirage, Canto De Los Flores and Aspirations. If you want to know what 'borbolet ... (read more)

Report this review (#163983) | Posted by Zardoz | Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars While by all accounts, Boboletta is a good Santana album, it falls flat as simply being subpar in comparison to the tremendous standards Santana had set for themselves in their first four albums. I have neglected thus far to listen to Welcome, and I was expecting another Caravanserai with this al ... (read more)

Report this review (#160100) | Posted by ClassicRocker | Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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