Design By Humans
Published On: Tue, May 31st, 2016

Santana: Santana IV

Santana IV
(Santana IV Records)

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Guitar god Carlos Santana, drummer Michael Shrieve, percussionist Michael Carabello, guitarist Neal Schon (whom you may know from a little band called Journey), and vocalist and keyboardist Gregg Rolie have reformed nearly a half-century after they last played together to release Santana IV. The Latin/jazz “Yambu” opens with chanted Spanish lyrics and Rolie laying down his heavy organ. Rolie sings low and strong on “Choo Choo” and sexy on the could-be-a-hit “Anywhere You Want To Go.” We are reminded of how this very magical brew expertly combines Latin, fusion, and rock like no other. (Really, why have these guys waited so long to record and play together?) Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers sings on “Love Makes the World Go Round” and “Freedom In Your Mind,” featuring strong percussion, a certain pop-commercial production, but not much more, I’m sorry to say. “Caminando” sees both Schon and Santana leading on what is the album’s best track, with Rolie low and sexy and Shrieve and Carabello getting into a heady groove. Rolie’s sweet piano playing under Carlos’ expertly-placed single guitar notes on “You and I” reiterate the fact that these two guys really should be playing together more. (In fact, for me, it is Rolie I’ve missed most in the Santana sound over the years and who I notice most here.) The last tune, “Forgiveness,” is led by more precise and expressive guitar playing between Santana and Schon. Santana IV might just very well be the album we have been waiting for.

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Santana: Santana IV