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Santana: Caravanserai

Carlos Santana

I rarely ever play my copy of Carlos Santana’s pop masterpiece Supernatural. I am proudly an old Santana guy. Label me a “Black Magic Woman,” “Evil Ways” and “Tell Me Are You Tired” type. Columbia must have heard me whining about Carlos’ rise to pop superstardom as the label has just remastered and rereleased four of his older records: Caravanserai, Love Devotion Surrender, Welcome and Moonflower (Columbia/Legacy). These albums are all special individual achievements, and they feature pure Carlos Santana in all his glory, full of experimentation. Some of this forages into the world of jazz fusion, but much of the music here is simply the kind of eclectic sounds Carlos Santana has perfected his entire career-what I like to call music of the Americas. It is all here: screaming solos, passionate vocals, sacred rhythms, the blues, the Spanish tinge, rock ‘n’ roll and Afro-Latin beats. Yet Carlos Santana is in a different sphere on each album, taking extraordinary chances each time out.

The largely instrumental Caravanserai, from 1972, is the first album from the guitarist after he dissolved his band from the popular albums Santana, Abraxas and Santana III, and he wasn’t looking back. Joining up with keyboardist Tom Coster, Santana was seeking the outer reaches of the soul with songs like “Just in Time to See the Sun” and “All the Love of the Universe.” The album mixes rock, jazz and salsa with tracks such as “Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation,” “Stone Flower” and “La Fuente del Ritmo,” but you can tell that Santana is itching to stretch out and stay there for a while.

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