The Ups and Downs of Carlos Santana
Part Three: Welcome
First Appeared at The Music Box, January 2004, Volume 11, #1
Written by John Metzger
A month after the completion of Love Devotion Surrender, Carlos Santana went back into the studio to begin work on Welcome, which wound up being his second album of 1973. Backed by The New Santana Band — featuring percussionist Armando Peraza, timbale player Jose Areas, drummer Michael Shrieve, bass player Doug Rauch, keyboard players Tom Coster and Richard Kermode, and newly added vocalist Leon Thomas (Count Basie, Pharoah Sanders, Rahsaan Roland Kirk) — Santana takes the jazz-fusion sound that he explored with John McLaughlin on Love Devotion Surrender and fully makes it his own. Once again, the influence of John Coltrane is present, drifting through everything from the Alice Coltrane-arranged Going Home that begins to the collection to the late saxophonist’s composition that concludes it. Unfortunately, the smooth, soulful vocals of Thomas, as well as the music that supports them, sound dated. Although the percussionists keep the grooves percolating, it’s only the full-fledged jazz excursion Mother Africa, a masterful reunion with John McLaughlin on Flame-Sky, and the sterling grace of the title track that truly succeed. Still, there’s something to be said for Santana’s heavily emotive guitar style, which sings beautifully no matter in what context it is placed. A single bonus track is included on Welcome: the previously unreleased Mantra, an hypnotic affair that helps make up for the duller moments on this set.
Of Further Interest...
Welcome is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box