SANTANA REVISITED (2016): From Woodstock to Devadip

 |   |  1 min read

Santana: Waves Within (from Caravanserai)
SANTANA REVISITED (2016): From Woodstock to Devadip

Carlos Santana has been famous and prolific for over 45 years and his new album Santana IV finds him re-united with most of the original band.

So, essential early albums by the band or from his own solo catalogue?

Santana___Santana__1969_Santana (1969): The debut which introduced Latin-infused jazz-rock to the audience which hadn't been there for the band's stunning debut at Woodstock earlier that month.

Prepared the ground for the equally impressive follow-up a year later, Abraxas.

Both essential.

CaravanseraiCaravanserai (1972): Because it followed three great albums which established the vigorous Santana sound, this controversial departure into jazz and more meditative explorations was widely derided at the time.

But it has stood the test of time, perhaps because it appeals to the more mellow stoner and has a measure of relaxed maturity about it rather the frenetic pace of some earlier outings, thrilling though they were.

It announced a new direction Santana would continue to explore -- jazz fusion with Latin elements -- sometimes with mixed results. But for a first foray into the area Caravanserai staked out the ground with intelligent caution.

MoonflowerAlbumMoonflower (1977): Initially this double album credited to the Santana band seems like an odd mix of new studio tracks and live hits, but the meld mostly works.

He's on the money with his singular sound and style.

And they even scored a hit single with their version of the Zombies' She's Not There.

SantanaSwingOfDelightAlbumThe Swing of Delight (1980): Although his guru Sri Chinmoy got many writing credits (presumably so Carlos could flick him some royalty money), this double album outing under his adopted spiritual name Devadip Carlos Santana found him with stellar jazz players from Miles Davis' band (Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Tony Williams) and others on a free-slowing, relaxed and sometimes expansive piece.

Essential, but a different Santana.

Also: There have been any number of Santana band and solo compilations, but the band collection Santana's Greatest Hits is the one to find. It draws from those first three “Woodstock era” albums.  

Share It

Your Comments

Graham Dunster - Mar 30, 2016

I'd make Caravanserai a double listing with Borboletta (as you've done with Santana and Abraxas). All four are wonderous. GRAHAM REPLIES: I agree, there's something to be said for Santana albums like Borboletta where he goes for nuance rather than flash

post a comment

More from this section   Absolute articles index

THE CHURCH INTERVIEWED (1994): Men keeping the faith

THE CHURCH INTERVIEWED (1994): Men keeping the faith

Fourteen years after springing their classic paisley-pop hit An Unguarded Moment, six years on from picking up an American gold disc for their album Starfish and looking at a back-catalogue of... > Read more

ELTON JOHN REVISITED (2016): Once was a well-known gun

ELTON JOHN REVISITED (2016): Once was a well-known gun

Elton John's new album Wonderful Crazy Night is his 33rd studio release . . . so speculating just for a moment that there are people out there who might say, "Yeah, heard of him but . .... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Neil Cowley Trio: Radio Silence (HideInside/Southbound)

Neil Cowley Trio: Radio Silence (HideInside/Southbound)

British jazz pianist Cowley and his trio seem to blow hot and cold: their '06 album Displaced was terrific (see here), but on their Loud Louder Stop of last year (here) they resorted to repetitive... > Read more

Beyond Whistler, Canada: And the road goes on forever

Beyond Whistler, Canada: And the road goes on forever

There's always some mild embarrassment when you don’t enjoy some place everyone expects you will. "Oh, you'll love Whistler," they all said. But I didn't. Admittedly I didn't see... > Read more