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Santana - Shape Shifter

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 25 / 6 / 2012

Santana - Shape Shifter
Label: Sony Music
Format: CD


Excellent largely instrumental latest album from guitar outfit Santana, which is dedicated to Native American Indians

With guitar leads that resound, 'Shape Shifter, Santana’s latest album, is a foray into a purely instrumental dimension. Only one song here features vocals. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Carlos Santana’s 36th album is dedicated to Native American Indians and explores a wide array of rhythms (both Indian and otherwise). The album is comprised of mostly original Santana compositions. The opening title track 'Shape Shifter' starts with an easy acoustic guitar into an Indian chant. Backed by a steady drum beat, the music is inspired and dream inducing. Carlos Santana’s lead guitar dances and engages; building, and then reaching to the heavens. Innovative keyboards serve as Carlos Santana’s counterpoint. The Santana Band’s musicianship is top flight. 'Dom' is another moving piece. It is no wonder Carlos Santana is recognized as one of the greatest guitarists in rock history. Here his subtle playing soothes and fascinates, creating epiphanies with just a touch. 'Nomad' features more elevated guitar and interwoven band rhythms. Santana, who stepped into the limelight at Woodstock remains in light for a reason- he is a master. 'Nomad' builds to a fever pitch almost from the start and remains there. 'Angelica Faith' brings to mind a classic like 'Samba Pa Ti' from Santana’s catalogue. Guitar and keyboards join in a symbiotic groove. Santana, like jazz icon Miles Davis is a consummate band leader- bringing out the best in both himself and the musicians around him. Santana’s guitar sings. A vocalist is not missed. The new instrumental album fares very well in light of Santana’s back catalogue and classic albums like 'Abraxas' and 'Amigos'. 'Never the Same Again' finds a beautiful magical groove- upbeat and uplifting. The song 'Mr. Szabo' brings to mind guitar great Django Reinhardt and his gypsy jazz guitar stylings, as Santana carries on here in this tradition. 'Eres La Luz', the one vocal track on the album utilizes Santana’s traditional Latin jazz vibe. The thirteen song set features tracks spanning from the late 1990s to the present. All in all, the listener feels well rewarded that Santana tackled an instrumental album at this time.

Track Listing:-
1 Shape Shifter
2 Dom
3 Nomad
4 Metatron
5 Angelica Faith
6 Never the Same Again
7 In the Light of a New Day
8 Spark of the Divine
9 Macumba in Budapest
10 Mr. Szabo
11 Eres La Luz
12 Canela
13 Ah, Sweet Dancer

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