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SANTANA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Multi-National


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Santana biography
Founded in San Francisco, USA in 1966 - Still active as of 2017

Carlos Humberto Santana Barragán - Born 20 July 1947 (Autlan de Novarra, Jalisco, Mexico)

Best known the world over for the group that bears his name, Carlos Santana has been reinventing and reshaping the landscape of the known universe's musical culture for close to four decades. A visionary artist with no regards for genre boundaries, Carlos' fluid sound long ago laid claim to the concept of "world music" before the term ever surfaced on pop culture radar. Having evolved and expanded for over four decades, the "Carlos" sound could well be on its way to becoming interplanetary music.

Born in Autlan de Navarro where there's now a street and public square in his name--to the son of a virtuoso Mariachi violinist, Carlos followed in his father's musical footsteps, taking up the violin at the age of five. It was when his family moved to Tijuana several years later, however, that Santana began his lifelong relationship with the instrument that would make him a musical icon--the guitar.

In 1961, Carlos made the border crossing moving from his native Mexico to San Francisco. A few years later, he formed the Santana Blues Band there, and the cool, soulful riffs and rhythms of his Latin-blues based sound found an audience eager for his innovative musical ideas. Carlos and company emerged as giants of the era-defining Bay Area music scene of the late '60s, and their fame grew far beyond its parameters while their artistry remained true to its free-flying spirit.

Massive success quickly followed. By the end of the decade, Carlos had played to packed houses on a cross-country tour, performed on the venerable Ed Sullivan Show, and made an indelible global mark with Santana's legendary, crowd-detonating performance at the original Woodstock festival in 1969.

He has not slowed down since: On a roll from his Woodstock performance his debut album shot up the chart bringing in a high-power fusion of rock and Latin beats. The next two albums duplicate the formula every time increasing his profile and winning over fans. With Caravanserai, the group changed directions developing a stunning jazz-rock and the album remains one of the textbook case of fusion music. This prompted Carlos Santana to start a solo career with collaborations with Buddy Miles, John Mc Laughlin (the superb Love, Devotion, Surrender) and Alice Coltrane (the no-less superb Illuminations), wh...
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SANTANA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SANTANA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.13 | 396 ratings
Santana
1969
4.23 | 603 ratings
Abraxas
1970
4.00 | 299 ratings
Santana 3
1971
4.22 | 717 ratings
Caravanserai
1972
3.49 | 171 ratings
Welcome
1973
3.67 | 194 ratings
Borboletta
1974
3.27 | 141 ratings
Amigos
1976
2.73 | 98 ratings
Festivál
1976
2.50 | 97 ratings
Inner Secrets
1978
2.82 | 95 ratings
Marathon
1979
2.93 | 96 ratings
Zebop
1981
2.43 | 73 ratings
Shangó
1982
1.68 | 63 ratings
Beyond Appearances
1985
1.97 | 48 ratings
Freedom
1987
2.79 | 49 ratings
Spirits Dancing In The Flesh
1990
2.89 | 49 ratings
Milagro
1992
3.17 | 181 ratings
Supernatural
1999
2.54 | 81 ratings
Shaman
2002
2.21 | 51 ratings
All That I Am
2005
2.38 | 48 ratings
Guitar Heaven
2010
3.57 | 75 ratings
Shape Shifter
2012
2.62 | 29 ratings
Corazón
2014
3.87 | 91 ratings
Santana IV
2016
3.59 | 27 ratings
Africa Speaks
2019

SANTANA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 111 ratings
Lotus
1975
3.76 | 114 ratings
Moonflower
1977
3.21 | 34 ratings
Sacred Fire (Live In South America)
1993
3.93 | 47 ratings
Live At The Fillmore, 1968
1997

SANTANA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.21 | 14 ratings
Viva Santana!
1988
4.26 | 19 ratings
Sacred Fire (Live in Mexico)
1993
3.25 | 4 ratings
Down Under, Live Australia 1979
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Every Tone Tells A Story
2005
3.00 | 2 ratings
In Concert (Loreley Festival in Germany 1998)
2007

SANTANA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.79 | 33 ratings
Greatest Hits
1974
3.57 | 20 ratings
Viva Santana!
1988
4.00 | 4 ratings
Hits Of Santana
1990
4.33 | 3 ratings
Santana (Collection)
1994
4.00 | 9 ratings
Dance Of The Rainbow Serpent
1995
3.67 | 3 ratings
Love Is You (A Love Song Collection)
1995
4.03 | 13 ratings
The Ultimate Collection (2CD)
1998
3.56 | 5 ratings
Black Magic Woman, The Best Of
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Latin Spirit
2001
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Best Of Santana (Eurotrend)
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Roots Of A Living Legend
2002
3.75 | 3 ratings
La Puesta Del Sol
2003
3.05 | 3 ratings
Ceremony, Remixes and Rarities
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
33 Real Rock Standards (Santana & guitar friends)
2006
3.13 | 5 ratings
Ultimate Santana
2007
3.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Hits (Steel Box Collection)
2008
4.20 | 6 ratings
Origina Album Classics (Caravanserai...)
2008
3.38 | 4 ratings
Collections
2009
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Essential Santana
2013

SANTANA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 6 ratings
Evil Ways
1969
3.00 | 4 ratings
Sampler from The Serpent
1995
3.02 | 8 ratings
In Search of Mona Lisa
2019

SANTANA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Caravanserai by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.22 | 717 ratings

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Caravanserai
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Lupton

1 stars Career suicide

After pioneering a unique (at the time)fusion of Latin Jazz and Melodic Rock on his first three albums, Carlos Santana suddenly took an abrupt left turn and decided to throw himself full tilt at Jazz Rock with the next album Caravanserai. I am all for artists expanding their musical horizons but on this album Santana, rather than develop the exciting style he had created by adding elements of Jazz Rock effectively threw the proverbial "baby out with the bathwater". Gone are the catchy Latin inspired riffs, impassioned vocals and snappy hooks. What we are left with is just an endless series of formless jams.I am sure the playing is full of virtuosity, but this is one album that for me commits the worst musical crime- it is excruciatingly BORING! I remember reading a review of one of Santana's many compilations with the journalist bitterly complaining that with no tracks from Caravanserai being included the album as a result being effectively airbrushed into history. I say there is a good reason for that- apart from completionists most fans simply do not want to hear it.I consider myself a fan but for me this is is one of the few Santana albums I literally never want to hear again. One star only.

 Shape Shifter by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.57 | 75 ratings

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Shape Shifter
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Carlos Santana was maybe feeling a bit guilty after delivering unprogressive and unchallenging 3 last studio albums and decided to provide a focused and more ambitious effort without too many pop and contemporary trends.

Shape Shifter succeeds in convincing long-time fans to be taken seriously and should not put off newer fans who look for more accessible music, for there are good melodies, arrangements not many music layers nor speedy playing with 100 notes a second. It is more about taste and feeling this time. Some of the compositions are completely devoid of Latin influence and that holds for percussions, too. So the best style characteristics could be "instrumental rock" rather than Latin rock. Santana's guitar is at the forefront of each song unlike on some songs on previous releases, it's clear who the master is!

In terms of mood, the album is more contemplative and not overtly positive or extrovert with exceptions. Mr. Szabo features nice acoustic guitar.

This largely instrumental album is a unique release in Santana's catalogue and cannot be compared to any other previous release in terms of similarities.

 Zebop by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.93 | 96 ratings

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Zebop
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Santana's improvement and his best album since maybe 1977' Moonflower. Not only compositions are better but there are sound trips back to the beginning of the 70's, of course with more decent set-up and no reason to experiment. Some tracks are pure pop (well executed), the second half of the record gets quite good with Latin flavor, a couple of instrumentals and tasty guitar playing (such as "Primera Invasion", "Tales of Kilimanjaro", "American gypsy"). There are some filler vocal tracks like "E papa re" however "Searchin" is a pleasant pop track quite rooted in the 80's. "Winning" is half a ballad half a classic rock track, very melodic and designed for airplay. "Hannibal" has the intensity of former Santana glorious tracks. There is enough for a Santana fan and pop/rock listener to find, challenging listeners should stay away.
 Marathon by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.82 | 95 ratings

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Marathon
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Marathon is on par with Inner Secrets: some good moments, mostly forgettable music that does not bear much quality or similarity to Santana.

"Lightning in the sky" has an interesting beat pattern but later it just enters the usual 4/4 territory. Bass work is also worth mentioning.

"Aqua marine" is a memorable although not a terrific instrumental. "You know that I live you" is a pop track not bad as such but totally not attributable to Santana. "Stand up" is quite a lively track with Hammond and percussions but inferior to any previous attempts. "Runnin'" is running to save the album from disaster with good bass and absence of vocals - but it's too short. "Summer lady" is a romantic song with things taken safely. Oh wait, but then comes "Love" that is also meant for loving emotions. "Hard times" has a catchy chorus.

The album may be OK for a casual listener of Santana but a disappointment for his earlier fans.

 Inner Secrets by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.50 | 97 ratings

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Inner Secrets
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars The record marks further departure from Latin sound, embracing more mainstream feeling and absorbing more pop sound without brass and lively instrumentation of the past. This means that the album is still of good quality with several well written songs but lacking ambitions of previous releases. Vocals on this album remind a bit of Steve Winwood.

The first song "Dealer/Spanish rose" has quite good vocals and melody. "One chain" is the most evident disco attempt until now with bass guitar saving the reputation in the absence of guitar. "Well alright" is not a surprise cover considering vocal colour of the lead singer. "Open invitation" is an attempt at a classic rock song. "Life is a lady/holiday" is a moody instrumental, filled with laid back emotions.

Most of tracks here are forgettable regardless of music style you like and the only two facts that stand out are confident guitar playing and soulful vocals. Not enough to exceed 2 stars.

 Festivál by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.73 | 98 ratings

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Festivál
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Santana began a smooth change of the sound with Amigos but radically departed from the previous challenging music with Festival. The music has now the following characteristics: Latin rock-pop and R&B/funk. Gone are jazz moments and hard-rock equilibristic. Synths have sneaked in, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

One of the best tracks is the first one, "Carnaval" thanks to its length and space to explore Latin territory although in a less adventureous way than before. "Let the children play" is completely devoid of Latin influences and reminds me of Earth, Wind and Fire.

"Jugando" is one of the few tracks with acoustic guitar by Santana.

Another track worth mentioning is "Revelation", it would be a filler track on any previous album but here it stands out simply because it is an focus instrumental. "Try a little harder now" is a mixture of playful Latin and disco motives. "Maria Caracoles" has traces of previous percussion glory and Hammond organ.

 Lotus by SANTANA album cover Live, 1975
3.85 | 111 ratings

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Lotus
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars This is simply one of the best rock/jazz-rock/fusion live albums of the 70's. All musicians are in top shape, tightly playing, inventive and willing to take extra mile to please listeners. The sound quality is phenomenal for the 70's.

The choice of compositions can be considered as best of Santana from the first classic era (all four hits from the second album) as well es more challenging instrumental music.

While the first half keeps things more down to earth(apart from "Every step of the way" and until the last couple of recent short fusion tracks), the second half of the album digs deeply into Latin fusion sophistication introduced by perfect bass/drum driven expirental and hypnotic "Mantra", Drum soloing in "Kyoto" that slowly evolve into the pinnacle "Incident at Neshabur" that sums up the instrumental prowess in mere 16 minutes. Absolutely breathtaking and there is no resting at laurels with "Samba Pa Ti" and "Toussaint l'Overture".

Although this album clocks at almost two hours, it is filled with excitement, innovation, progression and quality in every single minute of it. A must have for any Santana fan and also serves as a good introduction point to illustrious career of the band.

 Borboletta by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.67 | 194 ratings

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Borboletta
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

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 provide a beautiful album intro with smooth textures and light fusion keyboards, flute joining the tandem, while guitar is resting. With "Life is anew", the Santana band comes in full glory with Hammond, present guitar and drums/percussions.

"Give and take" is somewhere between jazz-rock, Latin and funk music, the most accessible track so far.

"One with the sun" is a beautiful instrumental comparable to any previous album.

After that, it's time to enter the fusion territory once again - Aspirations sets the bar very high. Beautiful saxophone, Hammond in the background and intensive drumming. Saxophone is ruling the song by no doubt.

"Practice what you preach" and "Mirage" are a hint at more accessible pop-infected sound of later Santana tracks. The latter track has a nice Moog arragements and the chorus reminds me of some Chicago work.

The last three tracks are fusion Santana at his best and bring back the magnificient glory of band interplay. They should be heard in their entirety.

Santana still had a lot to offer on Borboletta. It could have been interesting to hear some tracks from it on the live "Lotus" but that was released prior to this album.

 Welcome by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.49 | 171 ratings

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Welcome
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Santana pushes the boundaries of Latin rock and ambitions further on this release.

The beginning of this album is like from a keyboard progressive rock world with epic chords. Restrained guitar joins this rather symphonic piece with a lot of hectic cymbals and percussions. Love, Devotion and Surrender sounds like a light- weight track due to its optimistic melody and male/female vocals but an attentive listener discovers busy bass guitar, subtle Rhodes textures and amicable Hammond. The title seems to be spiritually connected to the previous work with McLaughlin.

"Samba de Sausalito" is a jazz exploration in Latin area, the bass and keyboards deserve recognition for their challenging play, interestingly, guitar is not hearable here.

"When I look into your eyes" is jazz-Latin-soul pop crossover track with a pleasant vocal, soothing flute solo. However, there is one large change in the last 2 minutes of the track when it slips into acrobatic complex rhythmic section with bass and drums that dominate even over meditative jazzy guitar.

"Yours is the light" will please fans of Latin jazz with ethereal female vocals, soothing Rhodes, quite similar to Return to Forever, only less virtuosity on keyboards (Corea is a different level ;-)). Guitar playing is inspired and the intesity matches the song.

"Mother Africa" leaves the familiar Latin territory to deep dive into African world musical, although percussions could be attributed to stay in Latin America. This is a pure fusion track enriched by excellent saxophones and jazzy piano in the background. Later on, the track gets more streamlined with focus on drums and percussions.

"Flame sky" is a wonderful 11-minute fusion spiritual trip into jamming. All players deliver a fantastic job but I like Santana's playing, he's excelling here with his jazz-oriented playing.

If you liked the previous two albums by Santana, then you must go for this one, too.

 Caravanserai by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.22 | 717 ratings

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Caravanserai
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars One of the best albums that merges jazz-rock and Latin rock together. Santana, already cruising at spectacular heights of the previous three releases, reaches another milestone and level of complexity. More reflective, perhaps less optimistic and full of exploratory work needed, this masterpiece absorbs contemporary jazz-rock fusion and slightly modifies Carlos Santana's way of playing - while not strictly jazz playing in the vein of McLaughlin, it has more of a jamming feeling. Percussions, piano/fender rhodes and drums are fully compliant with the new jazz-rock policy, listen to a masterful Fender solo in "La Fuente del Ritmo" and busy jazz-rock drumming that will heat your blood over 70 Celsius, guaratanteed!

Hammond organ tresspasses more into soul territory, leaving the more aggressive rock patterns behind.

Most tracks are instrumental but the album could benefit if it excluded even more vocals.

Already the beginning is quite enigmatic with very unusual calm trumpet or trombone melody, than jazzy drumming with percussions and the first signs of guitar won't appear before a 2-minute mark. Certainly closer to jazz than rock!

"Waves within" enters a more familiar territory with pretty epic chord structure and magnificient rhythm/organ landscape. "Look up" is another more experimental track - jazz-rock in the essence with wah-wah guitar effects and pre-funk beats.

"All the love in the universe" stands out of the crowd due to its higher accessibility, vocals but still manages to erupt into excellent instrumental workout with muscular bass and whirling Hammond.

"Future primitive" contrasts enigmatic keyboard textures and busy percussions, as if storm was about to come.

"Stone flower" may sound a bit similar to some Chick Corea/RTF of 1972, very catchy yet masterfully executed.

You will need to wait till the end to hear the pinnacle "Every step of the way" featuring even some acoustic bass, improvisational guitar/Hammond before setting out to a hellish dynamic territory with very busy traditional Santana instruments joined by brass instruments (trumpets, saxophones) and even a fiery flute solo. Santana solo is magnificient while remaining tasty. Even though the main motive is quite simple, the 9 minutes represent the peak of Santana's improvisational efforts.

This album is a crowning achievement of jazz Latin rock fusion and is firmly positioned among the best releases in its genre of all time.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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