CD Review: Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter Live at The 1988 Montreaux Jazz Festival Print
Thursday, 08 March 2007 07:21
By This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
It's so refreshing to encounter a new release by Carlos Santana that takes the listener back in time and reintroduces the classic sounds of Carlos. Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter Live at The 1988 Montreaux Jazz Festival is Carlos straight up, no (pop) rocks - just the way we like ‘em.

Clearly the pop parings from Sir Clive in the late nineties and early 2000 brought Carlos new fans and revived his career. And yes it was nice to see that Carlos won nine Grammy's for “Smooth” and the album “Supernatural.” Certainly a class act collecting his dues. That song and album may have some modern day acclaim and staying power, but simply doesn’t provide the purity or the gravitas of a song like “Samba Pa Ti” on an album like Abraxas - where the black magic of Carlos lives.

Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter Live at The 1988 Montreaux Jazz Festival is a pinch and sprinkle of that ol'magic dust.

The pairing of Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter started off as a goof when Santana said to his longtime friend in 1987, "Let's start a rumor that we're putting a band together." And Wayne responded, "Yeah, Carlos, let's start a rumor."

Shortly after this conversation between buddies in 1987 they formed the Carlos Santana/Wayne Shorter Band with a range of musicians that included hundreds of hit records between them. The following year they found themselves on stage at The Fillmore in San Francisco, and it was the beginning of a 26-concert tour throughout the U.S. and Europe with the show at Montreaux that many claimed to be the performance of the year.

The live album has the same textures and sonic traits of Santana’s early work, which makes the album so enjoyable. The jazz and percussive Latin vibe must have contributed to the quality of the performance and moved Carlos into that productive and inspired musical zone that put his guitar in flight for the two sets. His extraordinary playing during this show can be considered some of his finest moments as an artist and guitar maestro.

But the beauty of this performance is the amount of space Carlos and Wayne gave to each other. You won’t find a battle of the spotlight anywhere in the two hours of music. The two giants strike a perfect balance of guitar and sax. And you can practically hear Carlos pointing to Wayne on each turn.

There is an extraordinary comfort that these two musicians have playing together. Like the good friends that they are, they know simply when to speak to one another with their instruments and when to hang back. The musical conversations offer intimacy, humor, spunk, moody moments, and uplifting surges. Sublime musical textures weave throughout the two-hour performance. It's an unforgettable CD and one if you're a fan of Carlos a performance that will be at the top of your play list.

Some of the highlights include the rush of “Peraza,” the tender guitar work on “Goodness and Mercy,” the biting legato runs on “Sanctuary,” “Blues For Salvador’s” emotive and raw tones, and finally the crown jewel “Europa” – that has such perfect guitar moments it will leave you breathless.

The Set List: Spiritual, Peraza, Shhh, Incident at Neshabur, Elegant People, Goodness & Mercy, Sanctuary, For Those Who Chant, Blues for Salvador, Fireball 2000, Ballroom in the Sky, Once It's Gotcha, Mandela, Deeper, Dig Deeper, Europa

The Musicians: Carlos Santana - guitar / Wayne Shorter - saxophone / Chester Thompson - keyboards / Patrice Rushen - keyboards / Alphonso Johnson - bass / Armando Peraza - congas / Jose Chepito Areas - timbales / Leon "Ndugu" Chancler – drums

Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter Live at Montreaux was recorded on July 14, 1988 and comes as a DVD, Collectors DVD, and CD that includes two sets of music, interviews with Carlos, Wayne and the creator of the Montreaux Jazz Festival.