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 Electronic instruments at this time were out of date by the time a record was released because the technology changed so quickly.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  "Illuminataions"
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."
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
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  "Oneness Silver Dreams-Golden Reality"
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.
1. The Chosen Hour
2. Arise Awake
3. Light Versus Darkness
4. Jim Jeannie
5. Transformation (Excerpt from Hovhaness' "Mysterious Mountain")
7. Silver Dreams Golden Smiles
8. Cry of the Wilderness
9. Guru's Song
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
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  "The Swing Of Delight"
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.)
1. Swapan Tari
2. Love Theme from "Spartacus"
3. Phuler Matan
4. Song for My Brother
5. Jharna Kala
7. La Llave
8. Golden Hours
9. Sher Khan, the Tiger
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