The Ups and Downs of Carlos Santana

Part Two: Love Devotion Surrender

First Appeared at The Music Box, January 2004, Volume 11, #1

Written by John Metzger


Carlos Santana / John McLaughlin - Love Devotion Surrender

Carlos Santana / John McLaughlin
Love Devotion Surrender

In 1971, John McLaughlin, fresh from an association with Miles Davis, founded the Mahavishnu Orchestra, which also featured keyboard player Jan Hammer (though here he adds percussion instead of piano) and drummer Billy Cobham (who also is an alumnus of Davis’ band). Just as Caravanserai was being released, Santana further cemented his place within the realm of jazz-fusion by settling into the studio with this trio of members from the Mahavishnu Orchestra in order to craft what became Love Devotion Surrender. If there was any doubt that Santana had come under the influence of John Coltrane, this set dispelled it. The ensemble reinvents two of Coltrane's classics — Naima and A Love Supreme. The former is just as lovely as the original, featuring acoustic guitars instead of saxophone, while the latter is shaped into an edgy rock instrumental that wouldn’t have sounded out of place if tucked inside a Grateful Dead rendition of Dark Star, circa 1970. The other notable track on Love Devotion Surrender is Let Us Go into the House of the Lord, a traditional tune that mirrors an arrangement performed by Pharoah Sanders. Regardless of this, it’s still an exceptional performance that is infused with transcendent spirituality. The two bonus tracks reprise each of Coltrane's compositions, and, perhaps, one of Santana’s many concert jams featuring A Love Supreme would have served the reissue a little better. starstarstar ˝


Of Further Interest...

Santana - Caravanserai

Santana - Welcome

Santana - Moonflower


Love Devotion Surrender is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!



1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2003 The Music Box