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Santana: Abraxas

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (12/24/70, p.54) - "...On ABRAXAS, Santana is a popularized Mongo Santamaria and they might do for Latin music what Chuck Berry did for the blues....a total boogie and the music is right from start to finish."

Q (5/00, p.131) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Displays even more grace and power...[than their] fresh, fierce debut..."

Vibe (12/99, p.156) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century

Musician (7/98, pp.86-88) - "...Sony Legacy's sonic wizards have made...[Santana's] first three albums reappear, each appended with additional live recordings....epochal works...an explosive fusion of Hispanic-edged rock, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and interstellar improvisation..."

Uncut (magazine) (p.83) - "[A] mix of psych, blues and salsa, all tied together by the fluid guitar of one of rock's great stylists."

Album Notes

ABRAXAS, the second album by the original (and arguably most powerful) Santana line-up, proved the band's commercial breakthrough. The album's contains two of the group's biggest hits, "Black Magic Woman," a slinky, smooth-edged interpretation of the song written by Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green, and their take on Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va," which injects Carlos Santana's stinging guitar leads into a surging salsa groove. The band's unique, genre-blurring approach makes these singles--and everything else here--unlike anything that had been heard before.

The opener, "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts," showcases Carlos Santana's passionate, soulful six-string mastery over a drifting, psychedelic backdrop. The album ranges in feel, encompassing furiously propulsive jams ("Se A Cabo"), low-key Brazilian grooves ("Samba Para Ti"), and jazzy instrumentals ("Incident at Neshabur"). All the elements that made Santana's debut dazzling--roiling, polyrhythmic percussion, dense, pancultural influences, virtuoso guitar work--are here--sharpened and painted with the rich, heady sound of late-'60s San Francisco (Santana was just as exploratory and innovative as their hometown cohorts the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane). ABRAXAS remains a seminal Latin-rock release, and one of the undisputed classics of the era.


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