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Santana - Welcome CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.49 | 171 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Welcome Leon Thomas, so long Gregg Rolie!

With the departure of Gregg Rolie, lead vocalist and organ player since the inception of the band, I wouldn't have thought that Santana would still be able to produce quality music, especially after the masterpiece that was Caravanserai. I was so wrong, Santana released four more worthy albums, though none as superb as previous efforts with Rolie on board, they are still highly enjoyable.

After Rolie's departure, Santana would be looking for new members for each new album. On Welcome there's present Leon Thomas on lead vocals, the singer of Pharoah Sanders' love and peace jazz "epic", 'The Creator has a Masterplan', highly recommended if you're fond of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. Leon Thomas is one really capable singer able to yodel in an impressive way, though in Welcome he simply delivers down-to- earth, soulful vocals that suit Carlos' peaceful state of mind of that time. There's also famous Brazilian singer Flora Purim on backing vocals, also adding to the overall peaceful mood.

Welcome is similar to Amigos, released three years later, in the way that both are less adventurous and keeps things simpler, though still catchy and original as in their first two albums. Welcome, however, is a more peaceful record, maybe due of being the successor of Caravanserai, a moderately quieter and meditative album. Though, another difference is that this time Tom Coster doesn't play much of his organ, trying to retain Gregg's characteristical organ.

The jazzy touch of its antecessor is also heard here, especially on 'Samba de Sausalito' with nice electric keys, while in 'Love, Devotion & Surrender', 'When I Look Into Your Eyes' and 'Light of Life' you've got the more straightforward latin- inspired style, featuring vocals. However, the one problem this album has is that nothing seems to be really great, though there's the 11 minute instrumental 'Flame Sky' where Carlos sets his guitar free, it's rather similar and not as great as the solo guitar parts from Caravanserai which were sublime, though still worthwhile.

It's true that Santana would never reach to the magnitudes of Abraxas or Caravanserai again, but if you're a fan, you really can't miss Welcome nor Borboletta nor Amigos, and much less the excellent Moonflower, the best album post-Rolie in my opinion. Recommended to Santana fans and fans of generally good peaceful music with great guitar soloing and with lots of percussion.

The Quiet One | 3/5 |


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