Africa Speaks is the new energy infused full-length album from Santana. It features the soulful vocals of Afro-Latin singer Buika, and was produced by legendary producer Rick Rubin. Santana and his eight-piece band (featuring his wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, on drums), convened at Rubin’s Shangri La Studios in Malibu, and in a joyous and stimulating 10-day period they recorded an astonishing number of tracks, many of them in one take. Inspired by the melodies, sounds and rhythms of Africa, Santana has created a truly memorable and powerful experience that also promises to be one of his most groundbreaking albums yet.
The mark that the recording of Caravanserai and Love Devotion Surrender had left on Carlos Santana was monumental. The issue of Welcome, the band's fifth album and its first with the new lineup, was a very ambitious affair and was regarded by traditional fans of Santana with even more strangeness than its two predecessors. However, issued as it was at the end of 1973, after Miles had won a Grammy for Bitches Brew and after Weather Report, Return to Forever, and Seventh House had begun to win audiences from the restless pool of rock fans, Santana began to attract the attention of critics as well as jazz fans seeking something outside of the soul-jazz and free jazz realms for sustenance. The vibe that carried over from the previously mentioned two albums plus the addition of vocalist Leon Thomas to the fold added a bluesy, tougher edge to the sound showcased on Caravanserai.
Santana is the primary exponent of Latin-tinged rock, particularly due to its combination of Latin percussion (congas, timbales, etc.) with bandleader Carlos Santana's distinctive, high-pitched lead guitar playing. The group was the last major act to emerge from the psychedelic San Francisco music scene of the 1960s and it enjoyed massive success at the end of the decade and into the early '70s. The musical direction then changed to a more contemplative and jazzy style as the band's early personnel gradually departed, leaving the name in the hands of Carlos Santana, who guided the group to consistent commercial success over the next quarter-century…
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.
Recorded in Japan in July 1973, this massive, three-LP live album was available outside the United States in 1974 but held back from domestic release in the U.S. It features the same "New Santana Band" that recorded Welcome, and combines that group's jazz and spiritual influences with performances of earlier Latin rock favorites like "Oye Como Va."
Before the arrival of Carlos Santana's eponymous band, the San Francisco rock scene drew the inspiration for its jam-oriented music mainly from blues, rock, and Eastern modalities. Santana added Latin music to the mix, forever changing the course of rock & roll history. On their groundbreaking debut album, the group mix Latin percussion with driving rock grooves. Santana's unique guitar style, alternately biting and liquid, vies with the multiple percussionists for the sonic focus. Unlike later efforts, Santana's first album features an abundance of loose, collective compositions based on a couple of simple riffs ("Jingo," "Soul Sacrifice"). This approach allows for Santana and his bandmates to flex their improvisational muscles to fine effect. The high-energy level on Santana is infectious - the laid-back feel of other '60s San Francisco groups was clearly not for Carlos and co.
Marathon marked the addition of keyboard player Alan Pasqua and singer Greg Walker's replacement by singer/guitarist Alex Ligertwood in the Santana lineup. Otherwise, the album was notable for consisting entirely of band-written material, although those songs were in the established R&B/rock style evolved on albums like Amigos, Festival, and Inner Secrets.
With each track selected and sequenced by Carlos, Shape Shifter is a journey through soaring Santana leads and driving beats to the beautifully crafted melodies that have made Santana a household name. Consistent throughout the project is the world-class musicianship of the Santana Band members, who bring vitality and heart to every note. Band members include Benny Rietveld, Dennis Chambers, Raul Rekow, Karl Perazzo, Tony Lindsay, Andy Vargas along with Chester Thompson and special guest Salvador Santana.