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Santana - Caravanserai CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.23 | 709 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Caravans, Camels, but not Canterbury

Santana's fourth album find them consolidating and developing their unique blend of jazz, Latin and rock influences in what is effectively a continuous piece. While the composition credits are shared throughout (Carlos Santana is only actually credited or co-credited with about half), there is a flow to the music which makes identification of individual tracks largely superfluous.

It is of course the guitar work of Carlos Santana which is the prime focus of the music, but the contributions of future Journey guitarist Neal Schon and organist Greg Rolie are pivotal to the success of the album.

Apart from brief vocal interludes such as that on "All the love of the universe", this is a guitar-centric instrumental album. As such, the success of the album is reliant on the strength of the compositions, and the ability of the sometimes lengthy improvised sections to retain the listener's attention. Happily, the album succeeds on both counts. In addition, the Latin rhythms which are so closely associated with Santana do not dominate the sound in the way they tended to do on previous albums.

It is these factors which I believe set "Caravanserai" apart, and lead to it being generally acknowledged as the band's finest work. The way the music is presented will appeal both to those like myself who prefer the music to be generally structured, and to those who look for looser fusion and jazz style improvisations.

The second side of the album is slightly the more indulgent, and although the percussion is occasionally a little too dominant the quality established on the first side is largely maintained.

There is a certain timelessness about "Caravanserai" (which incidentally is the name for a desert pub or inn!) which means it sounds as contemporary today as it did 30+ years a go. Worthy of investigation by fans of rock, jazz, and fusion alike.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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