Latin Rock/Soul

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Latin Rock and Soul combines the instrumentation, emphasized back-beat and volume of rock and RnB with the complicated rhythms of Afro-Cuban jazz and other Latin styles. The early music of Santana is an excellent example of an Afro-Cuban/rock mixture. Carlos Santana's loud distorted guitar would cover the high melodic brass parts, Greg Rollie's B3 would cover the rhythm and mid-range parts, and the two extra percussionists would cover the clave and other rhythm parts giving the seven piece band the sound of a full Afro-Cuban jazz band.

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SANTANA Caravanserai Album Cover Caravanserai
SANTANA
4.68 | 40 ratings
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SANTANA Santana Album Cover Santana
SANTANA
4.40 | 26 ratings
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SANTANA Abraxas Album Cover Abraxas
SANTANA
4.36 | 28 ratings
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SANTANA Santana III Album Cover Santana III
SANTANA
4.32 | 24 ratings
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SANTANA Moonflower Album Cover Moonflower
SANTANA
4.45 | 9 ratings
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Santana IV
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SANTANA
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latin rock/soul Music Reviews

SANTANA Santana IV

Album · 2016 · Latin Rock/Soul
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dreadpirateroberts
Expectation.

It's always tough reviewing an album which is anticipated to be a band's 'return to its heyday' and the classic line-up from early 70s Santana is a pretty exciting prospect.

And it certainly works on just about every song. It's fun to hear interplay between Santana and Schon again for instance, especially on one of the stand-outs like 'Echizo' or the almost meditative 'Fillmore East' (and it must be said that Shrieve fires up a bit on 'Echizo' too, which is great) but there are a few songs that don't nail it for me.

Some of these are the vocal cuts ('Choo Choo' is one) but that isn't to say Rolie is in bad shape, he sounds great - especially on the smouldering 'Blues Magic' or the punchy 'Shake It' - but there's just a sense that everyone was so excited to play together again that they left a few b-sides in the running order.

Overall, the band is less fiery than in their youth (and that's not a surprise or a problem truly) but there's still passion and surprises to be had. Again, like 'Shape Shifter' a while back - I wouldn't call this an essential Jazz-rock album but don't write it off out of hand either, have a look if you're unsure.

SANTANA Abraxas

Album · 1970 · Latin Rock/Soul
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siLLy puPPy
Continuing the huge success generated by their debut album and their instant stardom generated by the Woodstock Festival in August 69, SANTANA released their 2nd album ABRAXAS the following year pretty much following the same formula of mixing rock, blues and latin jazz.

The album was an even bigger hit than the debut hitting number 1 on the Billboard album charts and selling more than twice as many albums as well as hitting big with the huge hits "Oye Como Va" and the cover of Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green's "Black Magic Woman." SANTANA was a worldwide phenomenon by now and their unique Latin big band sound was one of the hottest things going on at the time. As with the previous album there is an army of percussionists accompanying Carlos Santana's bluesy lead guitar and Gregg Rollie's keyboards.

Although this is a great album I have always liked it a tad less than the debut. It is lacking that incessant raw and fervent drive throughout its entirety that made the first album so amazing. The songs are more varied in their approach and the music is generally the same in its sound, yet something about this album just seems like a tamed down version of the debut as a whole. Whereas the debut was a energetic display of adrenaline from beginning to end, I find this one is dragged down a tad with slower numbers like the instrumental "Samba Pa Ti."

Nothing on here is bad by any means and it's only a relativity issue for me. It also hasn't helped that I have heard the hit singles on this album to death! Even after giving classic rock radio a break for many years, I still find "Black Magic Woman" a song I no longer like to hear. Make no doubt about it, it is a classic of classics but some music can become toxic after too many listens and this i'm afraid is one of those tracks that I haven't been able to recover from. Despite that an outstanding album that just doesn't reach perfection in my world.

SAPO Sapo

Album · 1974 · Latin Rock/Soul
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dreadpirateroberts
It's a shame these guys didn't release at least one more record but the single LP they have is still pretty ace.

Once lead singer and composer Bean left Malo he formed a new band to pick up with pretty much the same feel; rock-Latin rhythms mixed with salsa, punchy horns and some great songs. Maybe he's not the greatest singer it doesn't really impact my enjoyment of the songs - especially the charging 'Get it On' or opener 'Been Had.'

'Can't Make It' borrows clearly from the Bean's hit with Malo (Suavecito) and 'Nina' is pretty catchy too - overall, if you're into Latin Jazz and want something like Malo but still with a few subtle differences, have a look at Sapo.

SANTANA Santana

Album · 1969 · Latin Rock/Soul
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siLLy puPPy
Nothing screams the summer of 69 and the Woodstock event for me more than SANTANA. One day they were simply the Carlos Santana Band doing small gig venues in San Francisco and the next day after performing at that event they were watching their debut album racing up the charts and reaching number 4 on Billboard. “Evil Ways” also proved to be a huge top 10 hit as well. This rags to riches story may have happened anyway but perhaps not so fast. Their slot on the Woodstock event was actually won by the flip of a coin. Michael Lang, the concert promoter was pressured by Bill Graham to include one of the the acts that Bill managed. It was down to SANTANA and It's A Beautiful Day, another San Francisco band. The coin was flipped, SANTANA won, and enjoyed instant popularity and as we all know, much more was to come.

This is gorgeous album from beginning to end. SANTANA started out as a jam band but was advised to write a few more structured songs by Graham. The result is a perfect mix of free jam energy with structured songwriting that the band perfectly performs knowing when enough is enough and to move on to something else. This new Latin jazz fusion of the day took the world by storm and with half of the band dedicated to percussive instruments it's no wonder the world was mesmerized by this energetic mix of Latin jazz, Afro-Cuban rhythms and heavy psych blues that tied it all to the era. This is one of those album I never tire of. It has a timeless quality to it yet it always brings me to that time and place before my time. My personal favorite SANTANA is this one and what a beauty it is.

BROWNOUT Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath

Album · 2014 · Latin Rock/Soul
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js
Brownout is a Latin RnB/rock/funk outfit from Austin Texas that was created when members of popular cumbia band Grupo Fantasana decided to play some covers by the likes of Santana, EW&F and the P-funk mob for the fun of it. Their first ep did so well that they decided to keep the group going and record more albums. Somewhere along the way they came up with the idea of doing whole shows made up of Black Sabbath cover tunes and that was the birth of Brown Sabbath. “Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath” is like one big party on record where heavy Black Sabbath riffs meet Latin percussion and funk grooves. It’s a good record, but I have a feeling this is something that hits its real peak in a live performance. Nothing too serious or subtle going on here, just good times where rock crunch is pushed with a big horn section and that steady Latin RnB groove.

Some of the Sabbath covers have singers and they play those tunes more or less like the originals, while others like “Iron Man” and “Black Sabbath” are instrumental and are rearranged so that riffs that work best with the RnB groove are kept, and the riffs that are not as pliable are tossed aside. Guest singer Alex Mannero is a dead ringer for Ozzy on “Wizard”, but oddly enough, he sounds a lot like Jack Bruce on N.I.B., which ends up making you realize how similar Sabbath was to Cream sometimes. As mentioned earlier, this is probably a band that is best experienced live, I’m sure their sound is powerful. I don’t know how long they will be able to keep this sort of schtick going, these sort of gimmicks can have a short shelf life, then again, Dread Zepplin, turned their reggae-Elvis-Zepplin wackiness into a career. To their credit though, Brownout is being more or less serious here and not near as absurd or silly as Dread Zep. Still, someday in the future, I would imagine Brownout’s songs are going to show up on odd cover song collections along side ska versions of Green Day and exotica covers of Nirvana.

If Black Sabbath covers played by an excellent modern funky Latin rock band sounds like a good time to you, go for it, these guys really smoke, excellent players all the way around.

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