Carlos Santana: Waves Within
Caravanserai (Columbia CK 31610)
Carlos Santana (guitar),
Gregg Rolie (organ), Doug Rauch (guitar, bass), Doug Rodriguez (guitar), Mike Shrieve (drums), Jose Chepito Areas (timbales), Mingo Lewis (congas).
Composed by Doug Rauch & Gregg Rolie.
Recorded: February-May 1972
Rating: 86/100 (learn more)
Caravanserai was a transitional record for Santana. His first three albums had become mega pop-hits. For the most part, this record was devoid of vocals and focused on more complex musical excursions that contained jazz elements, thus guaranteeing there would be no hit singles.
With its distinct main melodic riff, "Waves Within" is one tune where you could imagine vocals sounding okay. And its short length, fewer than four minutes, also indicates there may have been a thought that some radio play was possible. Such was not to be the case, however. You still needed lyrics to get the disc jockeys to play your stuff. Heavy guitar riffs, constant congas, a surging organ and heavy drums dominate the piece. The tune is over before you know it. "Waves Within," and the album from which it comes, marks the first tentative steps toward jazz-rock that Santana would take under his own leadership. The spiritual influence later incorporated on his more consequential sound was not yet present. But, all in all, this was an important first step.
Note of Interest: Bassist Doug Rauch and organist Gregg Rolie are given credit for the composition. In Rauch's case it was further evidence that he was an early important contributor to the fusion movement and that his untimely death a few years later was a significant loss to the genre. Organist Rolie was also very talented and took a different direction by joining the rock supergroup Journey in 1973. Regardless of paths, both players exhibited monster chops and creative musical minds that helped Santana find his new way.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky