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The Essential Santana

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Album Review

The 2013 Legacy compilation The Essential Santana shares many superficial similarities to their 2002 compilation. To begin with, it bears the same title, similar artwork (Carlos is looking to the right in 2002, to the left in 2013), and several of the same songs, all arriving at the start: "Jingo," "Evil Ways," "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen," "Oye Como Va," "Samba Pa Ti," "Everybody's Everything," "Love, Devotion and Surrender," "Stormy," "Europa," and "Winning," which covers the late '60s through the early '80s. After these ten songs comes the deluge of new millennial pop and blues, including the massive hits "Smooth" and "The Game of Love," where Santana's presence is almost incidental to the pop hooks sung by Rob Thomas and Michelle Branch, respectively. From there, this does dip back into the '80s and '90s for such cuts as "The Healer" and "Blues for Salvador," but this is pretty much Carlos Santana in superstar mode, either playing duets or sliding into palatable blues/jazz fusion. There isn't as much adventure here as there is on the 2002 set, but for pop-minded Santana fans, this is the way to go.


Formed: 1966 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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The Essential Santana, Santana
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