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Santana - Greatest Hits: Live at Montreux 2011 DVD and Blu-Ray

by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Carlos Santana made his first appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival way back in 1970; who back then could have predicted that the guitarist and his band would still be going strong for a return gig more than 40 years later. Surrounded by the ten members of his band, including the three percussionists that it takes to envelop the listener in powerful Latin rhythms, Santana here performs all this big hits from early numbers "Black Magic Woman," "Evil Ways" and "Oye Como Va" to later smashes like "Smooth" and "Maria Maria." The band starts the show with the especially jazzy "Spark of the Divine/SOCC," perhaps in a nod to the fact that they are, after all, playing at a jazz festival. The three-hour set includes spiritual numbers like John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" and "Love, Peace and Happiness" along with poppier familiar album cuts like "Jingo," "Open Invitation" and "No One to Depend On," vocals being handled throughout by Andy Vargas and Tony Lindsay who between them offer just the right combination of soulful and forceful rock styling. You'd be hard-pressed to say that Santana has ever done anything short of perfection and this set is a shining example of stellar musicianship and positive energy in action. Carlos' wife Cindy Blackman-Santana takes a guest spot on the drums for a couple songs and Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi also sit in.

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Santana - Greatest Hits: Live at Montreux 2011 DVD and Blu-Ray

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