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  • Guitar Heaven

     

    guitar heaven cover photoGuitar Heaven
    Artist: Santana
    Label: Arista
    Reviewed: October, 2010

    Guitar Heaven is the appropriately named latest project from Carlos Santana. I say “appropriately named” because the song selections and Santana’s treatment and interpretation of those songs are absolutely heavenly. I picked up the disc while vacationing in Phoenix and couldn’t turn the darn thing off. I LOVE IT!!!

    From the opening riffs of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, with a more than phenomenal vocal delivery by Chris Cornell (Soundgarden and Audioslave) to the duet with Jonny Lang on I Ain’t Superstitious, this CD delivers a delightful bundle of great songs that you’ll more than likely hit repeat repeatedly. Also enjoying the rare and special opportunity to work with this guitar legend are such incredible artists as Scott Weiland, Rob Thomas, Chris Daughtry, Nas, India.Arie, Yo-Yo Ma, Jacoby Shaddix, Pat Monahan, Gavin Rossdale and Joe Cocker.

    One very interesting and pleasant surprise on the album is Santana’s version of the Doors hit, Rider’s On The Storm, featuring Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) and Doors co-founder and keyboardist, Ray Manzarek. Delivered with a similar, but completely different, eeriness, the unmistakable ivory artistry of Mansarek provides a consistent thread from the original recording to Santana’s interpretation of this iconic hit. I’m not sure but I think Jim Morrison would be proud of this one.

    If you love the original versions of the twelve songs on Guitar Heaven, then you’re going to also love Santana’s version of these same tunes. Download now and find out for yourself.

  • Invitation To Illumination - Live At Montreux 2011 (CD)

         

    Invitation To Illumination - Live At Montreux 2011 [2 CD] Live
    Santana & McLaughlin
    Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
    Review Date: October 25 2015

    Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin recently released the CD version of their previously released concert DVD, Invitation To Illumination – Live At Montreux.

    On July 1st, 2011, the famed Montreux Jazz Festival hosted the reunion of master-guitarists with their Invitation To Illumination concert. This is the first ever release of the audio from this unique concert, which includes most of the tracks from their classic 1973 album Love Devotion Surrender.  Invitation To Illumination - Live At Montreux 2011 also features the late Claude Nobs, founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, playing harmonica on the final track.

    Both Santana and McLaughlin have been regulars at Montreux throughout the years but this was the first time they headlined their own concert together. The show features compelling performances of the beloved tracks from Love Devotion Surrender as well as songs that have influenced Carlos& John’s incredible careers, including songs by Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan & John Lee Hooker. 

    This show is an incredible display of supreme musicianship by two of the most prolific guitarists to ever grace the world stage.  The line-up for this performance featured Carlos Santana (Lead Guitar & Vocals); John McLaughlin (Lead Guitar & Vocals); Cindy Blackman Santana (Drums); Dennis Chambers (Drums); David K. Mathews (Keyboards); Tommy Anthony (Guitar & Vocals); Raul Rekow (Congas, Percussion & Vocals); Etienne M'Bappé (Bass); Benny Rietveld (Bass); Tony Lindsay (Vocals); Andy Vargas (Vocals)

    The evening captured on Invitation To Illumination - Live At Montreux 2011 was truly worthy of its title: Illuminating. A showcase of supreme musical virtuosity and spirituality, this 2CD set typifies the approach of these two great artists.

  • Santana IV Live At The House Of Blues Las Vegas

    santanaliveatthehouseofbluescoverSantana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas (CD/DVD)
    Santana IV
    Label/Studio: Universal Music Group/Eagle Rock Entertainment
    Release Date: October 21, 2016
    Review Date: October 17, 2016

    What has become known as “Santana IV” has released a phenomenal performance on your choice of DVD+2CD, Blu-ray+2CD, or Digital Formats. Entitled “Santana IV Live At The House Of Blues Las Vegas,” this release captures the long anticipated reunion of the classic late-sixties / early-seventies line-up of Santana: Carlos Santana (guitar, vocals); Neal Schon (guitar, vocals); Gregg Rolie (Hammond B3, lead vocals); Michael Shrieve (drums) & Michael Carabello (congas, percussion, backing vocals), joined by Karl Perazzo (percussion, vocals), Benny Rietveld (bass), David K. Mathews (keyboards), along with special guest vocalist Ronald Isley.

    A show that was for the record books can now hold an important place in your personal audio/video library.

    The Santana IV album, released in April, has been both critically and commercially successful, charting at #5 in the US, #4 in the UK and Top 10 in many other countries around the world. Live At The House Of Blues, Las Vegas includes several tracks from the new album plus classic hits from the band’s first three albums, to which “Santana IV” is the natural successor, including: “Jingo,” “Soul Sacrifice,” “Samba Pa Ti,” “Black Magic Woman,” “Evil Ways,” “Oye Como Va,” “Everybody’s Everything” and more!

    On March 21st, 2016, a few weeks prior to the release of the Santana IV album, this classic line-up of Santana took to the stage at the House Of Blues in Las Vegas. This was a hugely anticipated reunion of a line-up that had not performed and recorded together since the early seventies. It brought back the scintillating combination of rock, Latin, blues, jazz and African rhythms which was the band’s trademark and made them truly unique.

    In addition to this fantastic concert, Live At The House Of Blues, Las Vegas includes interviews with the band as a bonus feature.

    Live At The House Of Blues, Las Vegas was a celebration of the chemistry, dynamism and pure musical joy that had made the original band so special and earned them a place in so many fans’ hearts. It is a show to be enjoyed over and over again.

  • Santana IV Live At The House Of Blues Las Vegas

    santanaliveatthehouseofbluescoverSantana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas (CD/DVD)
    Santana IV
    Label/Studio: Universal Music Group/Eagle Rock Entertainment
    Release Date: October 21, 2016
    Review Date: October 17, 2016

    What has become known as “Santana IV” has released a phenomenal performance on your choice of DVD+2CD, Blu-ray+2CD, or Digital Formats. Entitled “Santana IV Live At The House Of Blues Las Vegas,” this release captures the long anticipated reunion of the classic late-sixties / early-seventies line-up of Santana: Carlos Santana (guitar, vocals); Neal Schon (guitar, vocals); Gregg Rolie (Hammond B3, lead vocals); Michael Shrieve (drums) & Michael Carabello (congas, percussion, backing vocals), joined by Karl Perazzo (percussion, vocals), Benny Rietveld (bass), David K. Mathews (keyboards), along with special guest vocalist Ronald Isley.

    A show that was for the record books can now hold an important place in your personal audio/video library.

    The Santana IV album, released in April, has been both critically and commercially successful, charting at #5 in the US, #4 in the UK and Top 10 in many other countries around the world. Live At The House Of Blues, Las Vegas includes several tracks from the new album plus classic hits from the band’s first three albums, to which “Santana IV” is the natural successor, including: “Jingo,” “Soul Sacrifice,” “Samba Pa Ti,” “Black Magic Woman,” “Evil Ways,” “Oye Como Va,” “Everybody’s Everything” and more!

    On March 21st, 2016, a few weeks prior to the release of the Santana IV album, this classic line-up of Santana took to the stage at the House Of Blues in Las Vegas. This was a hugely anticipated reunion of a line-up that had not performed and recorded together since the early seventies. It brought back the scintillating combination of rock, Latin, blues, jazz and African rhythms which was the band’s trademark and made them truly unique.

    In addition to this fantastic concert, Live At The House Of Blues, Las Vegas includes interviews with the band as a bonus feature.

    Live At The House Of Blues, Las Vegas was a celebration of the chemistry, dynamism and pure musical joy that had made the original band so special and earned them a place in so many fans’ hearts. It is a show to be enjoyed over and over again.

     
  • Vortex

         

    Vortex
    Neal Schon
    Label: Mascot Label Group/Music Theories Recordings
    Release Date: June 23, 2015
    Review Date: June 21, 2015

    Neal Schon's upcoming all-instrumental album utilizes rock as its foundation, while also embracing elements of jazz, classical and world music in an 18-track stunning, sonically explosive collection of original compositions.  The release is dedicated to Schon's best friend and wife, who serves as his true inspiration every day (Both "Lady M" and "Triumph of Love" were written for her, the latter of which he performed at their wedding on December 15, 2013).  

    Schon shares, "This is an evolutionary album for me.  I’ve always aspired to be a better player and push musical boundaries. And sure, I’ve sold 80-million records with Journey, and I’m proud of that, but this album is really me — all based on my guitar, which is my ‘voice.’ It’s bold. There’s love, and there’s definitely fire and an element of danger. And the energy level is off the hook.”

    That’s evident from the first, mysterious-sounding measures of “Miles Beyond,” the scalding tribute to jazz genius Miles Davis’ pioneering fusion recordings that opens the album. The tune blends Schon’s soaring leads, tectonic plates of grinding rhythm and brilliantly layered melodies within an arrangement that embraces Middle Eastern flourishes plus flashes of African drumming by Steve Smith. 

    “Schon & Hammer Now” is a furious jam between the guitarist and his longtime friend and creative foil, Grammy-winning keyboardist Jan Hammer, whose many accomplishments include charter membership in the groundbreaking Mahavishnu Orchestra.  And the two match their brilliant technique and relentless invention throughout, sparring with the grace and speed of a young Mohammad Ali.  

    Schon reveals, "Jan is all over this album. I wrote the material to give Jan room to stretch.  There are not many three minute ditties. It’s all huge, epic, bombastic…futuristic.” 

    “Airliner NS910” is further proof. It’s all speed and swagger, with Schon skywriting the song’s sweetly singing theme in the indelible vapor trail of the instantly recognizable operatic tones of his signature model Paul Reed Smith guitars. He reflects, "Since Vortex is a two-record set, it's both my ninth and tenth solo albums.  That’s where the ‘NS910’ comes from." 

    The music of Vortex originated in the hard drives that Schon is constantly filling with ideas for riffs, melodies and chord progressions at home. But they came to life at Berkeley’s Fantasy Studios, his preferred spot for recording since Journey cut the 10-times-platinum number-one album Escape there in 1981. Schon states, "It’s my home away from home.  I spend so much time there that they’ve given me my own locker.”

    Schon produced and played bass on Vortex, too, and was joined in the studio by Smith and keyboardist Igor Len. Hammer and Len also appeared on Schon’s seventh solo album, The Calling, which was followed by the blues-inspired hard rock album So U.  He offers, "Igor and Jan complement each other, and me, beautifully."  And Vortex’s “Eternal Love” is a testament to Len’s creativity. The song, a richly emotional ballad, features Len alone on piano. The guitarist observes, “He sat down and played the tune spontaneously, and it was so gorgeous and deep that I had to have it on my album.” 

    Schon offers his own reflective solo performance on Vortex with the sparsely arranged acoustic guitar meditation “Mom,” dedicated to his mother, Barbara Schon. He reveals, "Like most of the performances on this album, it wasn’t premeditated.  I’d just pick up a guitar and tell my engineer Jesse Nichols to hit ProTools.”

    The intensely creative guitar giant has always had a seemingly innate ability to make glorious music. He began playing at age five and was inspired by soul vocalists like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight, and blues and jazz guitarists ranging from B.B. King Albert King, and Eric Clapton to Wes Montgomery. 

    When Schon was just 15 years old, Carlos Santana invited him to join his band. Schon’s recording debut was on the classic 1971 album Santana III. He played the solo on the LP’s hit single “Everybody’s Everything.” Recently Schon has been working with Carlos Santana on a new album, co-writing songs and playing key performances including homecoming Santana concerts in Guadalajara and Mexico City that included Journey as the opening band. 

    Schon formed Journey in 1973 and has led the band through its astonishing 42-year history. Along the way Journey has sold well over 80 million albums, amongst which the band's Greatest Hits release was certified Diamond by the RIAA for sales in excess of 10 million copies.  To date sales now exceed 15 million copies.  Eight other Journey album releases have been certified multi-platinum.  Neal Schon co-wrote the timeless hit “Don’t Stop Believin,’" which now holds the title as the most digitally downloaded song in history.  Seventeen additional Journey singles were Top 40 hits,  Schon has received multiple Grammy award nominations for both his work with Journey and his solo recordings. And Journey has been nominated for the Rock ‘n’ Hall of Fame. 

    Besides solo albums and tours and his historic work with Journey, Schon has an extensive history of blue-ribbon collaborations. These include co-founding the supergroup Bad English and forming bands with vocalists Paul Rodgers and Sammy Hagar. He released two collaboration albums with Jan Hammer, Untold Passion and Here To Stay, while also performing on releases from Michael Bolton, Return to Forever’s Lenny White and many others. 

    One thing he’s never done is considered resting on his laurels. Schon reflects, "I feel more aware and alive now than I've ever been.  Part of that is the sobriety I've had for the last seven years. I’ve also evolved as a person and a player though understanding the value of being in the moment – letting things happen and not thinking too much. There's an old blues saying: ‘If you’re thinkin’, you’re stinkin’.  When you stop thinking and just play from the heart, you discover your own voice. That’s the real thing, and that’s what Vortex is about for me.”

Featured Photo

alessandroampsreduced

Our Featured Photo by Boomerocity friend and famed rock photographer, Rob Shanahan (robshanahan.com), is is a bit different from past featured photos.  This Featured Photo is one used in a new Alessandro Amps – a line of high-end amps that musicians love and covet.

 

 

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