CMJ (1/5/04, p.8) - Ranked #17 in CMJ's "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1981"
Santana: Devadip Carlos Santana (guitar, percussion, background vocals); Alexander J. Ligertwood (vocals); Richard Baker (piano, organ, synthesizers); David Margen (bass); Graham Lear (drums); Orestes Vilato (timbales, percussion, background vocals); Raul Rekow (congas, percussion, background vocals); Armando Peraza (bongos, percussion).
Additional personnel: Alan Pasqua (keyboards, background vocals); Chris Solberg (background vocals).
Producers: Bill Graham, Devadip Carlos Santana, Keith Olsen.
Recorded at the Automatt, San Francisco, California.
Longtime friend and promoter Bill Graham joins Devadip Carlos in the production of 1981's zestily-titled opus, ZEBOP. The material makes an even navigation between radio pop and Santana's signature brand of edgy Latin rock. While Carlos' playing reaches a keen clarity throughout, nothing lets the fire loose quite like the album's instrumental numbers. Found on the previous albums MARATHON and THE SWING OF DELIGHT, sessionman Alex Ligertwood is again the vocalist of the hour, turning in a strong and soulful performance.
Santana is always associated with drawing inspiration from many corners, and ZEBOP is surely no exception to that tradition. The band turns Cat Stevens' "Changes" into a salubrious piece of radio-friendly folk-pop. The brief instrumental "Primera Invasion" certainly has the feel of a mounting attack, with piercing stacks of Carlos' overdubbed guitar riffs that quickly segue into the rolling synth-pop of "Searchin'." The upbeat hand-clap rock of "Winning" makes it the shiniest outing on ZEBOP, with a hearty, harmonized vocal delivery by Ligertwood as he proclaims, "I'm winningàand I don't intend on losing again." Based on a Yiddish melody taught to him by Bill Graham, Carlos makes mincemeat of "I Love You Much Too Much" with his bone-chilling guitar wails.