Latin Rock/Soul / Fusion / RnB • Mexico
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Carlos Augusto Santana Alves Born 20 July 1947, Autlan de Novarra, Jalisco, Mexico.

Santana is a veteran guitarist noted for his distinctive Tijuana jazz-influenced playing style. Born in Mexico, but resident in the USA from childhood, he has been the leader of the group Santana since 1966. Originally the 'Santana Blues Band' they debuted, as Santana, at Bill Graham's Fillmore West theater in San Francisco on June 16, 1968.

His performance was recorded on film at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969 and, after the breakup of this original group, he worked and recorded with drummer Buddy Miles. Carlos then formed a duo with John McLaughlin, becoming a follower of guru Sri Chinmoy who countenanced them the titles 'Devadip' (the eye, the lamp, the light of God) and 'Mahavishnu' respectively. This duo recorded "Love Devotion Surrender" together. 'Devadip' Carlos Santana then worked with another religious disciple, Turiya Alice Coltrane, widow of John Coltrane.
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CARLOS SANTANA albums / top albums

CARLOS SANTANA Love Devotion Surrender (with  John McLaughlin) album cover 3.78 | 20 ratings
Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin)
Fusion 1973
CARLOS SANTANA The Swing of Delight album cover 4.10 | 4 ratings
The Swing of Delight
Fusion 1980
CARLOS SANTANA Havana Moon album cover 2.32 | 4 ratings
Havana Moon
RnB 1983
CARLOS SANTANA Blues for Salvador album cover 3.43 | 5 ratings
Blues for Salvador
Latin Rock/Soul 1987
CARLOS SANTANA Brothers album cover 3.83 | 3 ratings
Latin Rock/Soul 1994
CARLOS SANTANA Divine Light (Reconstruction & Mix Translation by Bill Laswell) album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Divine Light (Reconstruction & Mix Translation by Bill Laswell)
Fusion 2001


CARLOS SANTANA live albums

CARLOS SANTANA Carlos Santana And Buddy Miles Live ! album cover 3.15 | 4 ratings
Carlos Santana And Buddy Miles Live !
Latin Rock/Soul 1972
CARLOS SANTANA Oneness: Silver Dreams - Golden Reality album cover 3.79 | 3 ratings
Oneness: Silver Dreams - Golden Reality
Latin Rock/Soul 1979
CARLOS SANTANA Live at the 1988 Montreux Jazz Festival (with Wayne Shorter) album cover 3.88 | 4 ratings
Live at the 1988 Montreux Jazz Festival (with Wayne Shorter)
Latin Rock/Soul 2007

CARLOS SANTANA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

CARLOS SANTANA Space Between The Stars album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Space Between The Stars
Latin Rock/Soul 2005

CARLOS SANTANA re-issues & compilations

CARLOS SANTANA Playin' with Carlos album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Playin' with Carlos
Latin Rock/Soul 2005
CARLOS SANTANA 3 Original Album Classics album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
3 Original Album Classics
Fusion 2010

CARLOS SANTANA singles (0)

CARLOS SANTANA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
Live At The 1988 Montreaux Jazz Festival With Wayne Shorter
Fusion 2005
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin : Invitation to Illumination - Live At Montreux 2011
Jazz Related Rock 2013


CARLOS SANTANA Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin)

Album · 1973 · Fusion
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Love Devotion and Surrender” is an odd one in the Carlos Santana discography. Released in 1973 when jazz fusion had hit a popularity peak and had enticed rockers like Carlos and Jeff Beck to take part in the genre, this will be one of a few full fusion albums that Carlos will release during this time. Santana is joined on here by the flamboyant John McLaughlin as they pay tribute to both John Coltrane and Sri Chimnoy. The spiritual jazz of Coltrane and Pharoh Sanders is a big influence on here, but so is the macho rockin jazz fusion of the day, making for a sometimes clumsy hybrid.

The album opens with Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”, which is given a huge electric mystical 70s hippie sound that is attractive at first, but as McLaughlin and Santana flail at each other with ill-advised lick trading exercises, the track becomes more of an athletic workout than something more musical. Fortunately this is the only song on which they ‘battle’ each other in this fashion. “Naima” is played acoustically and in very good taste, but their performance doesn’t offer anything new to this often recorded ballad. Side one closes out with “The Life Divine”, on which the two guitarists get to stretch out without the annoying frantic lick trading of the opening cut. Many great drummers are credited on this album, but there is no doubt that it is Billy Cobham on “Life Divine”, his distinctive drum roll makes it obvious.

Side two is taken up mostly with “Let Us Go into the House of the Lord”, possibly the best track on the album and one in which the two guitarists are allowed to stretch out unfettered and finally organist Larry Young is allowed to take a ride. Larry eschews the more rockin style of his band mates and turns in the most interesting solo on the album. Unfortunately, the last part of his solo is almost buried by McLaughlin’s insistent rhythm playing. The album closes with another short ballad featuring McLaughlin’s rather pedestrian piano playing.

The opening of this album promises good things to come with its big open psychedelic sound and spirited energy, but as things develop, many of the solos are not that interesting as they lean heavily on repeating rock riffs delivered with the subtlety of a sledge hammer. All of the performers could have done well to pay attention to Larry Young’s approach as he swells in and out of the mix adding tamboura like colors that blend well with the electric guitars and the multitude of percussion. Very much a product of its time, “Love, Devotion and Surrender” is for those who like the excesses that marked what was both good and bad musically in the 70s.


Album · 1983 · RnB
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After disastrous "Shango", Carlos Santana recorded "Havana Moon" as a solo album, with many celebrated guests. It is slightly better than "Shango", if nothing then for the sheer change of style, leaning more towards blues and R'n'B. This album is, again, nothing special but it is pleasant to listen, especially the joyful covers of "Who Do You Love" or the title track. Inclusion of a different, live version of "Tales of Kilimanjaro" (originally appeared on "Zebop!" by Santana band in 1981) makes this record gain an affirmative mark, but you won't miss a thing if you avoid it. For fans only.

CARLOS SANTANA Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin)

Album · 1973 · Fusion
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Essential fusion record which is a must for any decent jazz rock/fusion collection, "Love, Devotion, Surrender" is not an easy listen. It takes more than a few spins to appreciate. However, I will not rate it with full 5 stars due to somewhat overdone vocals and here and there typically unneeded McLaughlin's guitar extravagant soloing. But, everything else, meaning: the invocation of John Coltrane spirit, compositions, performances and overall sound and feel are perfect and it is highly recommended. This album is also a testament to the time when both artists adopted their famous second names Devadip and Mahavishnu respectively, under the influence of their guru Sri Chinmoy.

CARLOS SANTANA Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin)

Album · 1973 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
The combination of Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin, together with members of both men's respective bands, producing an album revisiting the music of John Coltrane proves to be less than the sum of its parts. The fusion treatment of Coltrane's works is interesting, but can hardly stand up to Coltrane's original performances - I personally find that, perhaps because they were composed long before the fusion revolution, the songs fit much better in an older tradition of experimental jazz and don't translate well to a fusion treatment. As for the original pieces, you're left with the impression that both men were keeping the best material back for their day jobs. An interesting collaboration, but not an essential one.

CARLOS SANTANA Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin)

Album · 1973 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
When this album came out in July of 1973 my favorite LP at the time was “Caravanserai” and my favorite guitar player was John McLaughlin so I figured it would be an endeavor that had no chance of disappointing my ears. I surmised it wouldn’t sound much like the bands Santana or The Mahavishnu Orchestra and I was right. Yet I was still surprised by what it turned out to be. Over the years I’ve wafted back and forth between thinking it is a brilliant specimen of jazz/rock fusion for a while and then there are times when I consider it to be a mostly noisy display of self-indulgent excess. As of the most recent listen I find myself somewhere in the middle of those two opinions so it means you’ll be getting a fairly unbiased and accurate essay about “Love Devotion Surrender” in the next few paragraphs.

Both musicians were going through some big changes at the time. Carlos’ highly successful group had repeatedly conquered the singles charts but he was growing tired of the rut they’d found themselves in and had started to steer the ensemble into the more exciting yet risky territory of fusion. They were still a viable, somewhat stable entity but in the other corner the very influential combo of virtuosos that John had assembled and led was beginning to break apart because of inner conflicts. A few years earlier McLaughlin had introduced Santana to Guru Sri Chinmoy and a deep, spiritual-based friendship developed between them. Carlos was also in awe of John’s amazing skill and technique on the guitar so it appears that collaboration between the two was inevitable. Using their mutual admiration for John Coltrane’s envelope-pushing work as a foundation, they got it done in two intense sessions held in October of ’72 and March of ’73. I was thrilled with the prospect of greatness coming out of their union and bought it the day it was released.

“A Love Supreme” (a version of Coltrane’s “Acknowledgement”) starts with an explosion of sounds, then drops into Doug Rauch’s hypnotic bass line grooving over the track’s uncomplicated drums and percussion. After some organ noodlings courtesy of Larry Young Santana and McLaughlin duke it out back and forth like electrified maniacs and the result is extremely combustible as they goad one another to higher and higher peaks of passion. After a spell of this intensity the number backs off for some loose chanting of the song’s title by conga man Armando Peraza. I dare say that if this cut doesn’t do much for you then the rest of the album will not be something you’ll enjoy. Coltrane’s emotional composition “Naima” from 1959 is next and the beauty and etherealness created by the duo’s acoustic guitars is very refreshing, especially after surviving the fire of the opening song.

Billy Cobham’s boisterous drums make a huge impression throughout “The Life Divine,” making it the most arresting track on the album. Having said that, I could’ve used a lot less of the off-key chanting that consistently interrupts the flow of the music. A little bit of a repeating mantra goes a long way, fellas. Here each guitarist gets his own uninterrupted solo and, despite Carlos delivering some of his fieriest salvos, John absolutely bedazzles the mind with his speed-of-light shredding. Amidst all this six-string conflagration Rauch’s solid bass work does a great job of keeping things from disintegrating into chaos. The traditional “Let Us Go into the House of The Lord” follows and, at almost 16 minutes, it is by far the longest jam on the record. It opens with a free-form melee of drums, percussion and guitars colliding over what sounds like random organ chords and then settles into a fast-paced, conga-led Latin samba rhythm. This inaugurates a more defined movement, establishing a firm base for yet another Godhead-cutting guitar duel. Atonal organ spasms from Young break up the monotony after a while and then, after a cooling-down segment, McLaughlin indulges in a demonstration of his edgy, jazz-on-the-fringe-of-sanity approach to guitar playing. Santana jumps in on top of him at one point and they play simultaneously, setting the studio ablaze in the process before the number finally peters out from exhaustion. The closer is John’s “Meditation,” on which he plays some lovely piano and Carlo performs on acoustic guitar. It’s an atmospheric piece that provides a peaceful finale to their project.

What’s amazing to me is that, as wildly eclectic as this album is at times, it climbed all the way up to #14 on the LP charts. Even taking into consideration that some buyers mistakenly thought they were getting another dose of classic Santana fare instead of other-worldly explorations into the spiritual ether, that fact shows that the public in general was much more adventurous and open-minded in the 70s. The photographs on the album cover didn’t exactly give the impression that this was a pop record, either. They look like two reflective family members at a cousin’s wedding on the front and like two uniform-clad college freshmen posing with their Indian dorm supervisor on the back. No, I think that the tens of thousands that purchased “Love Devotion Surrender” knew they weren’t going to be hearing anything like “Black Magic Woman” on this disc yet I suspect that they got more evolutionary jazz than they bargained for in the deal. This is truly a one-of-a-kind happening that allowed a couple of outstanding guitarists in their prime to stretch themselves without restraint to the limits of their abilities and to hell with the consequences. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that it is incredibly unique in the realm of jazz/rock fusion.


CARLOS SANTANA Live At The 1988 Montreaux Jazz Festival With Wayne Shorter

Movie · 2005 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Lots of good music happens at the Montreaux Jazz Festivals. I'm a little envious of those who can attend regularly. According to the DVD cover blurb for this one:

"It began almost as a lark when Carlos Santana encountered his longtime friend and hero Wayne Shorter on the concert trail in Atlanta, GA, in 1987. Carlos said, "Let's start a rumor that we're putting a band together."

Wayne's eyes got bigger and brighter as he smiled and then responded: "Yeah, Carlos, let's start a rumor."

A few months later the Carlos Santana/Wayne Shorter Band performed its debut concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco, the beginning of a 26-concert tour throughout the U.S. and Europe. The performance of this magnificent band was recorded at Montreux, Switzerland, on July 14, 1988, and includes interviews with Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter and festival creator Claude Nobs."

Excuse me if I quoted that too extensively.

Hard to figure out whether to place this one under Carlos Santana or Santana. Most of the musicians are from the Santana band at the time. Wayne Shorter and Patrice Rushen are special guests. Leon "Ndugu" Chancellor replaces Graham Lear on drums.

This is a lot jazzier than the studio albums Santana was releasing at the time. It's something special to see this one time collaboration between Santana and Shorter. The quality of the video and audio are top notch.


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