Monday, May 30, 2016

Santana - 2010 "Original Album Classics 3"

This little box set is great value, especially if you love the fusion side of Carlos Santana. In fact I enjoyed this so much on the first listen it is hard to decide which one to spin again first! I had owned Illuminations on vinyl previously and it's as great as I recalled. Swing of Delight (a two record set on a single CD)is new to me. You won't find much of the classic Santana sound here but this is one of Carlos's finest accomplishments. The thing I find interesting about this music is that it appeared AFTER the Santana band proper had returned to a more air play consumer friendly sound. As a musician who dabbles with jazz I feel this music is far more interesting. I just wish he'd continue releasing the solo stuff like this

It's fusion but it does not sound particularly dated like a lot of fusion from that era does. I have a theory about why. Electronic instruments at this time were out of date by the time a record was released because the technology changed so quickly. So many artists fell victim to the synth thing. What sounded great at the time sounds a lot like Nintendo game music today. Tom Coster was not overly indulgent with synthesizers and when he did use them he used additional pedals and a touch technique that produced a very organic sound. For example the synth on Dance Sister Dance sounds like a guitar rather than a mini moog Coster was known for this ability in the Santana band. So Swing will get lots of rotation from me. Oneness is great stuff too but a little unusual. In places it reminds me of Weather Report lineup #3 Some have compared it to Borboletta (one of my favorites) but I really don't hear that at all. Still, I like the entire album. The sound on these CD's is very good try not to get hung up on is it or isn't it remastered. With these box sets you get whatever the latest edition of the CdD single release might happen to be. You can't go wrong at this price.

Now some reviewers complain about no liner notes or credits with these 3 and 5 album value sets. Nonsense! Let the music speak and if you want to see personnel all of these are documented on Wikipedia. The mini Lp sleeves are sturdy and pretty cool. I do miss this fusion side of Carlos Santana and do wish he would stop trying to repeat the success of Supernatural and get back to making more of this great music. In the meantime we have these. I thought Carlos' fusion was abandoned after Borboletta so discovering Swing of Delight and Oneness was finding more of that great work. My favorite Santana works are: Caravanserai, Welcome, Lotus, Borboletta, Amigos. If you like those then you will like this box set a lot.

These are three of Carlos Santana's rock/jazz fusion albums in one package. These are from Carlos Santana as opposed to the Santana band, although I think that Oneness is really a Santana band album. The good news is you get three albums that had come in 4 LPs for a very cheap price.
The bad news is that this a very stripped down package with no credits or album information. The CDs come in cardboard sleeves that are shrunk versions of the original LP covers. The problem is that the track listings and credits were not on the outside of the album covers. They were included in the LP sleeves for two of the albums and in the center of the gatefold for Swing of Delight. So, unless you have the original LPs or go online, you don't know who played on these albums.

The sound quality is very good to excellent on all three discs.

The first disc is Illuminations, which is supposed to be a duet with harpist/organist Alice Coltrane. There really isn't that much Coltrane on the album. I found half the album to be to ethereal ambient type music that relied too much on a string section. It does have about 15 minutes of great music for jazz greats Jack DeJonnette and David Holland. I give this album 3 stars.

Oneness could be considered a Santana band album because it contains members of the Santana band at the time it was recorded in 1979. However, it sounds a lot like the Santana album from 1974, Borboletta. This is a very good jazz/rock/latin fusion album with some great parts and some good songs. I give it 4 to 5 stars.

Swing of Delight was originally issued as a double LP. But, it is only 56 minutes long and could have been released as a single LP. I never like playing it because I would have to get up every 13 minutes to flip the album. It is great that it is a single album. This is more of a jazz/rock fusion album with very little Latin influence. For the first half of the album, it is difficult to tell that Carlos Santana was involved. Even his guitar playing is significantly different. I really enjoy the change. Later on, he does revert back to some of the Latin influences and his famous guitar style. I give this one a solid 5 stars.


 1974 [2010] "Illuminataions"


Illuminations is a 1974 collaboration between Carlos Santana and Alice Coltrane. Jazz musicians Jules Broussard, Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland also contributed to the record, on saxophone, flute, drums and bass. Alice Coltrane delivers some harp glissando, while the string orchestra adds a serene mood to the music. Carlos Santana (whose Indian name "Devadip" appears on the sleeve) plays electric guitar in his own fashion, utilizing feedback, long notes and simple melodies, letting much space to the other instruments. The album is conceived as an instrumental jazz album, with lengthy solos on guitar, saxophone and keyboards. The introduction to "Angel of Air", with its violins, has been sampled by the Cinematic Orchestra. It is his first of three solo albums (the others being Oneness and The Swing of Delight) to be released under his temporary Sanskrit name Devadip Carlos Santana, given to him by Sri Chinmoy.

For his third duet album, Carlos Santana performed the works of John Coltrane, paired with Coltrane's widow, harpist/keyboardist Alice Coltrane, on this instrumental album. Side One includes several contemplative, string-filled numbers, while Side Two presents Santana's re-creation of John Coltrane's late free jazz style in "Angel of Sunlight."

Track Listing:

  1. Guru Sri Chinmoy Aphorism - Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane
  2. Angel of Air / Angel of Water - Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane / Devadip Carlos Santana / Turiya Alice Coltrane
  3. Bliss: The Eternal Now - Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane
  4. Angel of Sunlight - Devadip Carlos Santana and Turiya Alice Coltrane
  5. Illuminations - Devadip Carlos Santana / Turiya Alice Coltrane

Personnel

    Carlos Santana - Guitar
    Alice Coltrane - Harp, Piano, Wurlitzer Organ
    Tom Coster - Electric Piano and Hammond Organ - 2,4,5
    Dave Holland - Double Bass - 2,4
    Jack DeJohnette - Drums and Percussion - 2,4
    Jules Broussard - Flute, Soprano Saxophone - 2,4
    Phil Brown - Tamboura - 4
    Armando Peraza - Congas - 4
    Phil Ford - Tablas - 4


1979 [2010] "Oneness Silver Dreams-Golden Reality"

Oneness: Silver Dreams - Golden Reality is a 1979 album by Carlos Santana. It was his second of three solo albums (the others being Illuminations and The Swing of Delight) to be released under his temporary Sanskrit name Devadip Carlos Santana, given to him by Sri Chinmoy. The album features members of the band Santana, and consists mostly of instrumental songs and ballads.

This is the first Carlos Santana solo album. It features members of the Santana band as backup, however, so the difference between a group effort and a solo work seems to be primarily in the musical approach, which is more esoteric, and more varied than on a regular band album. The record is mostly instrumental and given over largely to contemplative ballads, although there is also, for example, in the song "Silver Dreams Golden Smiles," a traditional pop ballad sung by Saunders King.

Track listing:

  1. The Chosen Hour
  2. Arise Awake
  3. Light Versus Darkness
  4. Jim Jeannie
  5. Transformation (Excerpt from Hovhaness' "Mysterious Mountain")
  6. Victory
  7. Silver Dreams Golden Smiles
  8. Cry of the Wilderness
  9. Guru's Song
  10. Oneness
  11. Life Is Just a Passing Parade
  12. Golden Dawn
  13. Free As the Morning Sun
  14. I Am Free (Excerpt from "The Soul-Bird")
  15. Song for Devadip

Personnel:

    Carlos Santana - Guitar, Vocals
    Chris Solberg - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
    Urmila Santana - Vocals
    David Margen - Bass
    Narada Michael Walden - Drums
    Chris Rhyne - Keyboards
    Clare Fischer - String arrangements and conductor; Piano on "Silver Dreams Golden Smiles"
    Saunders King - Guitar, Vocals
    Graham Lear - Drums
    Bob Levy - Synthesizer
    Tom Coster - Keyboards, Vocals
    Pete Escovedo - Percussion
    Armando Peraza - Percussion, Vocals


1980 [2010] "The Swing Of Delight"

The Swing of Delight is a 1980 double album by Carlos Santana. It was the last of three solo albums (the others being Illuminations in 1974 and Oneness in 1979) to be released under his temporary Sanskrit name Devadip Carlos Santana, given to him by Sri Chinmoy.

For his second "solo" album, Carlos Santana used Miles Davis' famed '60s group--Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams -- plus members of the current Santana band, for a varied, jazz-oriented session that was one of his more pleasant excursions from the standard Santana sound. (Originally released as a double-LP, The Swing of Delight was reissued on a single CD.)

Track listing:

  1. Swapan Tari
  2. Love Theme from "Spartacus"
  3. Phuler Matan
  4. Song for My Brother
  5. Jharna Kala
  6. Gardenia
  7. La Llave
  8. Golden Hours
  9. Sher Khan, the Tiger

Personnel:

    Written-By – D.C. Santana* (tracks: 4, 6 to 8), Sri Chinmoy (tracks: 1, 3, 5)
    Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, 12-string Guitar, Percussion, Vocals – Devadip Carlos Santana
    Soprano Sax – Premik Russell Tubbs (tracks: 1, 3), Wayne Shorter (tracks: 2, 6, 9)
    Tenor Sax – Premik Russell Tubbs (tracks: 4, 5), Wayne Shorter (tracks: 3, 9)
    Acoustic Piano, Rhodes, Clavinet, Synthesizer [Clavitar, Prophet 5, Yamaha CS-80, Oberheim 8 Voice, Brass, Strings] – Herbie Hancock
    Acoustic Bass – Ron Carter (tracks: 2, 3, 6, 7, 9)
    Bass – David Margen (tracks: 1, 4, 5, 8,)
    Drums – Tony Williams (tracks: 1, 3, 6), Graham Lear (tracks: 5, 8), Harvey Mason (tracks: 2, 4, 7, 9)
    Congas, Bongos, Percussion – Armando Peraza
    Congas, Percussion, Vocals – Raul Rekow
    Timbales, Percussion, Vocals – Orestes Vilato

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  2. I purchased two of these three albums in the late-1970s on cassette. No more cassettes nor cassette tape player. I'm looking forward to listening to Illuminations and Oneness once again (since the 1980s!).

    Thanks for uploading.

    Thomas

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