Carlos Santana: Song of the Wind


Song of the Wind




Caravanserai (Columbia CK 31610)

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Carlos Santana (guitar),

Gregg Rolie (organ), Neal Schon (guitar), Doug Rauch (bass), Mingo Lewis (congas), Mike Shrieve (drums)


Composed by Gregg Rolie, Carlos Santana & Neal Schon


Recorded: February 21-May 5, 1972


Rating: 86/100 (learn more)

The music on Caravanserai represents one of Santana's earliest attempts at breaking out of the pop mold. He wanted to play more serious music that reflected his growing spiritual and musical influences. In a way the album served as a way-station on Santana's road to the more fulfilling music he longed to play. Interestingly, a caravanserai was an inn that travelers across the old trade routes though Asia and Africa would use as an overnight rest stop for the remainder of their journey. I think there is significance in the title. There was Santana music before this album and there would be Santana music after this album. The material on this record represented both aspects. But this is where thought began to become action. A good night's sleep is always helpful for the journey ahead.

"Song of the Wind" features Santana along with another guitar superstar, Neal Schon. The cut is really a jam. You can tell this not only because the piece lists three composers but also because there is generous quoting from other popular riffs. Santana and Schon (who would form the rock group Journey shortly after these sessions) don't really act as jazz-rockers quite yet. That would come a few albums down the road. Their parts seem more parallel and planned out even if they weren't. In other words, we are not talking jazz call and response. But we are talking about cohesive counterpoint and blues-laced improvisations. The spirit of jazz-rock is there if you reach out and grab it.

It is interesting that Santana seems to be holding back a bit. This is only surmised because he stretched out into the universe in subsequent fusion albums. Perhaps that was more about growth than lack of confidence. At any rate, Santana and Schon still sound great at rocking a semi-fusion groove, and it didn't hurt to have the likes of Rauch, Rolie, Lewis and Mike Shrieve pushing them along.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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