The classic line-up of Carlos Santana’s band, which scored a string of hits such as Jingo and Black Magic Woman, has reunited after more than four decades to produce a new album to be released on April 15.
Santana IV will feature guitarist and singer Carlos Santana, keyboard player Gregg Rolie, guitarist Neal Schon, percussionist Michael Carabello and drummer Michael Shrieve. This is the first time the line-up has recorded together since the classic Santana III album of 1971.
The band emerged from San Francisco in the late 1960s, with Mexico-born Santana pioneering a new sound that fused combining Latin elements with rock. The band created waves and won many fans when it played the historic Woodstock festival in 1969.
Listen to Black Magic Woman here
Santana IV features 16 tracks written and produced by the band, which also features percussionist Karl Perazzo and bassist Benny Rietveld. Ronald Isley, the lead singer of band The Isley Brothers, sings on two tracks.
The reunion was first suggested some years ago by Schon, who made his debut as a teenager on Santana III and went on to form the classic rock band Journey. Santana liked the idea and proposed that Rolie, Shrieve and Carabello should be in the line-up for the new album.
After initial writing sessions and rehearsals in 2013, the group recorded 16 tracks that combine Afro-Latin rhythms, plenty of guitar solos and percussion over the past two years.
“It was magical,” Santana said in a statement on his website. “We didn’t have to try to force the vibe – it was immense. From there, we then needed to come up with a balance of songs and jams that people would immediately identify as Santana.”
Listen to Santana and Eric Clapton perform Jingo here
The band’s signature sound arrives forcefully on the album opener Yambu, a righteously gritty and soulful stomper teeming with swirling B3 organ hooks and walloping guitar crunch.
The first single, Anywhere You Want to Go, will be released on February 5.
As expected, the album will feature numerous guitar solos from Santana and Schon. “Carlos and I feel more connected than ever,” said Schon. “We get super-aggressive when we play, but also melodic and poetic. We have an incredible dialog with each other on our guitars.”
Even the cover of the new album is reminiscent of the “roaring lion” artwork found on Santana’s 1969 debut album. But the music, said Santana, has little to do with nostalgia.
“When you can go back and break new ground with joy and determination – and some whoop-ass energy – it gets you going,” said Santana. “I think we achieved something very rare. This music was screaming to come out of us. It wasn’t about nostalgia. It was about passion.”
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