If you have heard of “Caravanserai,” you may have already guessed that this is one heck of an album. The band may have been in transition (or even disarray), but it sure doesn’t sound like it. Carlos and the boys altered the approach, and played as if this is what they had been doing all along. This also says quite a bit about the talent assembled here.
If you are a fan of the first three albums, this one may come as a bit of shock. The heavy-duty rockers, and west coast psychedelia, are gone. The jazz influence reigns supreme. There is no doubt that it is Santana, but it is smooth beyond words. There is an extremely organic quality to the flow of the music. No hits will be found, but that wasn’t the point. It is about the music, and craft. There are numbers that will get your head bobbing, and toes tapping, but the strength of the compositions always holds more interest. It is beautiful, sublime, and even rocking at times. Through it all runs a consistent vision.
I am tempted to call it essential. However, there is just something here that doesn’t speak masterpiece to me. It is a joy to be sure, but I don’t believe your collection would be lacking without it. One thing for sure is Santana never quite attained these heights again.
Gregg Rolie – keyboards, vocals
Michael Shrieve – drums
Jose ‘Chepito’ Areas – timbales, congas, percussion
Carlos Santana – guitars, vocals
Neal Schon – guitar
Tom Rutley – bass
James Mingo Lewis – congas
Doug Rauch – guitar, bass
Wendy Haas – piano
Tom Coster – piano
Armando Peraza – congas, bongos