On this my firest ever blog I wondered what I should think about, and then as if fate the Purple One passes away and just in the nick of time out came the Santana Reunion CD….Santana IV. Problem solved.
Life is short! Time passes way too quick. Having worked in the music business since my teens and now radio for close to XXX I am seeing way too many of my formative creative sparks passing away. Just this dang year…..Bowie…..Frey……White….Prince. OMG! WTF! On my BEST nights, and again on my worst, their creative workings have pulled myself and countless individuals around this sphere through the journey we call life. Lord knows it’s not easy and the art of music is sometimes your greatest and most personal alley. It is an art, it is a gift. Having been on that table in a hospital I all too well also know how valuable every second of everyday is, until you are looking up at the Surgeon on the table yourself….you cannot possibly feel how important every breath is. I for one am eternally greatful for my own journey (still in progress) and all those wonderful seconds spent in their art. So in my own personal way my passion for music and it’s artforms is my way of saying thanks to those I have not met or to the way too many whom have passed through our timescape.
Then there’s…….Chemistry. It’s all about chemistry in life everyday, whether it is with your significant other or maybe the folks you work around and with everyday, and when that happens in a band….It Shows! And such is the case for the reunited lineup of the original Santana band and the sparkling new release Santana IV. There is absolutely no doubt that the aura between these super musicians is flowing throughout this piece of art. Carlos, Neal, Gregg, the two Michaels plus Benny & Karl have relit that creative passionette flame that artists find only on occasion in groups…now once again some 4 decades later..
From the opening notes of “Yambo” one immediately hears passion in the performance. It would seem through my ears that this is one of the most inspired Santana releases in decades especially on the fretboards. Carlos and Neal trade solos throughtout the entire disc making it a guitar players haven for over 70 minutes. Gregg Rolie has long been my favorite vocalist from the entire catalog of works from Santana, his B3 work here also leaps off the disc especially on the jams….and those jams are so sweet.
“Choo Choo/All Aboard” will be an all time Santana classic with everything you would expect from the lineup delivered, percussion, driving bass, soaring vocals and keys from Gregg and guitar play dripping with firey soul and emotion. Here are some of my moments..
“Anywhere You Want To Go”…..the first single harkens back to an era when things and times were much easier. Would have worked on any of the first three discs
“Fillmore East”……. Building through out to some very sweet solos from Neal and Carlos
“Freedom On Your Mind” …….Ronald Isley is the perfect vocalist for this worldy track
“Choo Choo/AllAboard” ……. Irrepressable jam
“Suenos” ….. Wow…Samba Pa Ti lives on anew
“Blues Magic/Enchizo” ……. Magical moments of controlled axemanship
“You and I” ……. Indeed another soulful piece of fretwork from Carlos
“Forgiveness” ……. Leaves you wanting more as Carlos and Neal each work throughout to some solos that have to come from within.
It’s the chemistry between these musical brothers that flows from song to song, not trying to make a radio hit but rather concentrating on the musical vibe that has been sadlymissing since Santana III. The results will please any fan of the early era of Santana, Abraxas and Santana III.
I have been doing music daily now for close to 40 years, and one of my “Bucket Lists” has been to have some of those bands that were ahead of their time reform and give us one more piece of recorded history, luckily for me…and us, it has happened with Santana IV. I for one am extremely grateful for the guys getting back together again and allowing all of us to witness, feel and absorb the magic that was decades ago back when teenagers and young men took to the stage at Woodstock scared out of their minds and delivered big time….now decades later they are still as strong and vibrant as ever. It has far exceeded my expectations (which were pretty damn high) and I only hope for another such project from these Iconic pros whom have affected so many lives for so many years
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