Review By Michael McKenna
Nor'easter Entertainment Magazine
It took them 45 years to do this and now it's here! Santana, originally came together in the summer of 1967 under the watchful eye of the legendary Bill Graham and went on to take Woodstock by storm. The years that followed are now rock history. To make things even better, the original cast from Santana 3, from 1971, are back and reunited on this new effort. Carlos stated, “I called all the original guys and said 'Let's get this thing together and do it'.” Michael Carabello states, “There's nothing like this team of musicians and I relate it to a baseball team, everybody has their position and when we go out and play, it's a very positive thing.” Benny Reitveld said, “This is like a garage band, a bunch of old friends in a garage, but it's on another planet.”
Fronted by multiple Grammy winner, Carlos Santana along with drummer Michael Shrieve, percussionist Michael Carabello, guitarist Neal Schon and vocalist and keyboardist Gregg Rolie, they will be making tidal waves with this new LP. Bassist Benny Rietveld, percussionist Karl Perazzo and special guest vocalist, Ronald Isley, are also on board to complete this All-Star cast of musicians.
With all of the issues fronting us today, Carlos needed to make a lasting statement with his new music and at the insistence of Neil Schoen, it finally has happened. Carlos stated, “It felt like it was the right time for us to partake in this chemistry that Santana is. It's really fun and a lot of joy because there is a lot of appreciation and we deeply value each other.”
This 16-track collection opens with “Yambu” that is a little bit jazzy, funky and Latin flavored all in one neat package. Gregg Rolie's heavy bottom on keys combined with Rietveld's, Santana's and Schon's signature guitar work reverberates and reprises the conga-fired soul that we heard on their 3rd LP. “Shake It” is Latin percussion and guitar heavy and kicks ass right from the door. Carlo's powerful vox dominate! The first single, “Anywhere You Want To Go”, is a monster. This killer cut has already made waves worldwide. The guitar and keyboard solos are banging! “Fillmore East” is an instrumental memoir of the legendary venue that launched many famous acts.
“Love Makes the World Go Round” featuring vocalist, Ronald Isley from the Isley Brothers, takes the listener back in time to the track “Everybody's Everything” from their 1971 LP. Isley's powerful pipes are like a good wine, they got better with time! Rolie's key solo is off the charts! “Freedom In Your Mind” takes you hostage from the first note! Shades of “Oye Como Va!” Neil Schon riffs are powerful and Ronald Isley nails this perfectly. “Choo Choo” features Greg Rolie on vox where he gives it to you low and strong. This track is bound to be one of my favorites on this effort! MASTERFUL!
“All Aboard” takes things down a bit on this touching balladic number that will end up being the wedding dance song of the decade! The deep feeling that oozes from this track is angelic and inspiring. “Suen Os” is a rock-infused jam which has a hypnotic sound that will take hold of the listener and keep them riveted. The verse, 'Let it roll, let it roll' brings that groovy retro flavor to the forefront and one can hears parts of “Caravanserai” here. “Caminando” is a mid-tempo bluesy number that reminds me a bit of the late, great BB King! Carlo's vocals are on point and he gives this so much of that Mississippi/Delta sound.
“Blues Magic” kicks things up a few notches on this instrumental that espouses Carlo's roots from his early days. The guitar work is spot on and touches the ear with sheer perfection. “Echizo” is beyond description, it's that good! “Leave Me Alone” is another killer cut. This should make programmers soil their shorts in a heartbeat! This track is ready for mainstream radio! This is the equivalent of “Evil Ways.”
“You and I” is a guitar-driven instrumental with just the right touches. The solos go back to the 2nd LP where those long riffs were the norm. “Come As You Are” will make the top of the charts on Latino based radio. This fun-filled track makes one just want to dance their ass off! The final track, “Forgiveness” is a seven-minute workout that can be described as a spaced-out artsy track in the mold of what Pink Floyd did in their heyday. The guitars take one to a place where they have never been before. The lyrics are totally out of the box cool.
In closing, Carlos Santana said, “You take people's attention from whatever they though was important and then the sound resonance and vibration makes them feel what's really important in their lives and what's important in your life is to value yourself from the point that there is a lot of wisdom and grace in you....get ready to partake in something that is supremely delicious. I look forward to giving the people of Allentown a show they will remember..”
I would have to say that this is the BEST that I have ever heard this awesome collection of musicians sound. The creativity, talents and mind-blowing sounds that emanate from this effort are mesmerizing and warrant exceptional kudos.
This LP is a MUST LISTEN and MUST BUY! On the Nor'easter Storm Scale, I give this my highest rating, a FORCE 5! WELL
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