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Santana - Santana 3 CD (album) cover

SANTANA 3

Santana

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 299 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I purchased this album in December 1971 and I was really in love with it. As I have mentioned previously for "Machine Head" (but it was also the case with "Meddle"), this album will be my everyday friend during most of 1972 during which I spent ten months laying in my bed due to a serious leg problem. So, this one has a very special place in my heart and this review might be influenced by this personal matter. But hey, after it was my life and I like sharing these moments !

The sleeve design is absolutely fabulous. Still better than the Abraxas one, maybe (although, I like "the angel" an awful lot...).

Major change in the line-up. But a change I quite like : new members are added to the ensemble : Neal Schon as a second guitar and to a Escovedo on percussionswas helping during the abscence of Chepito.

The band is still very united. Carlos said : We were stil at a point where we would sit down and just talk about something and start playing it. One would say, "Listen, I'm going to play the "Rite Of Spring" from Stravinsky, just listen to it." We'd listen to it. We'd say : "All right, let's write our own interpretation of what they did. It was like a think tank". We'd use our imagination and start tripping. We'd create our own thing. Don't copy, but take the essence. We were still in unity".

The album will peak at Nr. 1 in the US charts (will stay there for five weeks and will remain a total of 39 weeks). Side one of the vinyl album is probably the best ever from the band (it is my preferred one, without the slightiest doubt). All four tracks are great (Rolie co-wrote all of them, while Carlos participated in three songs on the whole album, as Mike Shrieve).

Schon's influence can instantly be heard in "Batuka" : a great anthem for guitar heroes combined with very strong percussions (no wonder with four guys playing). Gregg said : "We never closed doors on stuff". In fact, "Batuka" came from a Santana adventure with a symphony orchestra (gosh)! "We played with Zubin Metha and the L.A. Philarmonic on a Bell Telephone Hour Show, along with a couple of other rock bands. We wrote "Batuka" off a Leonard Bernstein piece that they taped and sent to us to learn". Fantástico !

The album flows into the (semi) hit single "No One Can Depend On" : the two guitars are so powerful and complementary. the latin rythm during the vocals is turned into a fantastic guitar moment. This echo could have last for ever. Estupendo !

My favourite track here is "Taboo" : full of lyricism and melody. The guitar solo is of course gorgeous. The percussion work is also impressive (the song was co-written by Areas). This is the most emotional track of the album. Increíble !.

"Toussaint l'Overture" is another great piece of music, full of rythm, great keyboarding from Rolie, and a special mention for the percussion team at its best. The rythm they put in here is HUGE. The finale is grandiose : an violent orgy of keys and guitar. What a number again ! Fabuloso !

Next one is the hit single "Everybody's Everything" (will peak at Nr. 12 in the US charts) and is not really my fave but still a good track with an incredible rythm and again a great guitar break. This album is probably the more guitar-oriented so far. Que ritmo !

"Guajira" is a latin-jazz-rock piece of music. As such it is quite interesting : good bass playing from David as well as piano from Gregg. The furious guitar solo is the highlight of the song. I will pretty much prefer the live version on Sacred Fire which is really fabulous (but that's another Santana story). Vámonos Guajira !

"Jungle Strut" is a cover song from a famous sax player (Gene Ammons) : it is a very good instrumental piece of music: loads of guitar again and percussion. It keeps the level of this album very, very high. Poderoso !

"Everything's Coming Our Way" is the only song written exclusively by Carlos: it is full of subtlety, emotion and poetry. A very sensitive track (with some flamenco influence). Nice melody and a superb combination between Gregg and Carlos.Very underrated track but one of my fave. Hermoso.

"Para Los Rumberos" is by far the weakest track of the album and should have been avoided (it is the second time in a row that the closing number is very weak - see my Abraxas review). Olvidable !

About thirty years later (2001), I purchased the remastered edtion which contains three live tracks from their concert at the Filmore West on July 4, 1971 (all instrumentals : Batuka, Jungle Strut and an unreleased number : Gumbo (good but not essential).

Of course, the fans were offered (?), a true jewel with the double CD Legacy edition. One studio CD with the original LP version and three unreleased studio tracks from the sessions: Gumbo, Folsom Street One, Banbeye (you will understand why those tracks didn't make the album while listening to it) as well as the single version for "No One To Depend On". CD2 is 100% live : mostly numbers from Abraxas and III (only Savor was from their first one). At this point of their career, there won't be such long improv during their concerts (like we can find on their Live At The Filmore from 1968). The rendition is closer (too close maybe) to the original. One can get this confirmed with this fantastic Legacy edition. The whole side of Santana III, "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen", "Incident At Neshabur" and "Savor" being the absolute highlight of it.

I hope they wiill go on with their "Legacy" releases and produce one for Caravanserai. With my introductory words, you will understand that the only rating I can grant is five stars (whatever the version : original, remastered or legacy).

Get up, get it, dance and get exhausted ! Grandioso ! Estupendo !

ZowieZiggy | 5/5 |

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