Welcome

SKU: CK85944
Label:
Columbia/Legacy
Category:
Jazz Rock
Add to wishlist 

"Once upon a time there was a guitar god who had grown bored with all his fame, riches and glory. He longed for something more than another multi-platinum selling record. He desired not simply acclaim, but respect. He knew to get it he would have to walk away from the distinctive style that made him popular and wealthy. It was a risk to confuse his band and his fans by making a radical change in his musical direction. But he did it anyway and broke up the classic version of his band, alienating much of his audience in the process.

It must have seemed worth it at the time to Carlos Santana. Appearing at Woodstock had announced to the world there was a new guitar hero on the scene, a skinny Mexican who fused elements of rock, Latin, jazz and funky R&B in one soul-stirring stew. Santana delivered on the promise with a trilogy of terrific albums.

The initial effort in Santana's amazing adventures in fusion, Caravanserai (Columbia, 1972), is the sound of a band uncertain of its music and its leader equally uncertain of the direction he wants to take them. Following Santana III (Columbia, 1971), it must have puzzled executives at Columbia when Santana presented it to them. While it has its definite highs, the low points of Caravanserai are very low.

Gregg Rolle was skillful on the organ, acceptable as a vocalist and totally out of his league trying to fake it as a jazz musician. Rolle simply lacked the feel for this dense, hook-free tunes and soon would leave to form Journey, taking guitarist Neal Schon with him.

The record is disjointed as Santana can't fully let go of the Latin rock that made him wealthy and famous. Never the strongest vocalist, Rolle sings on three unmemorable songs. The songs aren't strong and neither is the playing. You can almost feel Santana's frustration. If he were going to succeed in this new path he was on he would need something conspicuous in its absence from Caravanserai.

He would need better musicians to play the way he wanted and better music for them to play. Carlos took the first step when he joined with guitarist John McLaughlin for Love, Devotion and Surrender (Columbia, 1972). Santana brought along members of his band and teamed with McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra to produce an eclectic electric guitar summit that perplexed fans, critics and record executives.

Welcome solved both problems. David Brown (bass) and Michael Carabello (percussion) were already out by that time and Rollie and Schon were eyeballing the exit sign as well.

Santana has always fused the spiritual with the secular and Welcome is as close as the guitarist has ever come to the former with no regard for the latter. Welcome yielded no hit singles and was never conceived as an album rock radio would play. This is Santana's John Coltrane/A Love Supreme moment: creating transcendent, reverent, passionate music conceived and executed by a virtuoso artist without the slightest trace of concern for commercial considerations.

The opening drone of the two organs on "Going Home" played by Tom Coster and Richard Kermode build gradually and soar high with grandeur. Santana lays out here and frequently fades into the background entirely. He is finally secure in his own playing and doesn't have to take the lead. His new-found confidence comes from knowing he finally has a band capable of delivering the goods and they do. Welcome is every bit as much of a classic as the first three Santana albums. It sounds great nearly 40 years after its release.

The only comparable rock guitarist who altered his sound as drastically as Santana did with Welcome is Jeff Beck, with his career-altering Blow by Blow (Epic, 1975). The critical difference is Beck was taking the next step after a series of unremarkable bands and records that had flopped. Santana was at the peak of his fame when he drastically altered course and followed the path of A Love Supreme in seeking to make music that satisfied his soul, not a record company's ledger sheet.

Even Robert Christgau, the noted (and notorious) rock critic/curmudgeon, and former music editor of The Village Voice smiled upon Welcome.

"More confident and hence more fun than Caravanserai, this proves that a communion of multipercussive rock and transcendentalist jazz can move the unenlightened—me, for instance. Good themes, good playing, good beat, and let us not forget good singing—Leon Thomas's muscular spirituality grounds each side so firmly that not even Flora Purim can send it out the window."

Not everybody completely "got" Welcome in 1973. It wasn't slightly different like Caravanserai, with one foot still in rock and another with a toe dipping lightly into not only jazz fusion, but even free jazz. The signature sizzling guitar solos were there, but more restrained and at times even submerged within the collective of the group.

The secret weapon is Michael Shrieve's energetic drumming and the dual keyboard attack of Coster and Kermode. They push and pull Santana to go beyond and stop holding back. Some have called the album disappointingly thin and self-indulgent, but that's a harsh assessment. There are no hit singles or any concessions made to radio here. Maybe an adventuresome jazz station would play "Samba De Sausalito," but even the vocal tracks, "When I Look Into Your Eyes" and "Light of Life" feature Leon Thomas' vocals. Alternating between soulful singing and off-the-wall yodeling, Thomas is perhaps the most polarizing of the many Santana vocalists.

The other unique aspect to Welcome band was the band's first female member, Wendy Haas, a vocalist and keyboard player Santana plucked from Azteca, the same band he found a hot-shot 17-yr-old guitarist named Neal Schon, the future guitarist of Journey.

If Welcome is the summit of Santana's jazz fusion era, Lotus (Columbia, 1974) and Borboletta (Columbia, 1974) are the sound of that era falling off a cliff. Lotus was a mammoth three-record live set that was only available as a high-priced import, but in 1991 Columbia released it domestically whittling it down to two CDs. It's brilliant, messy and at times, total overkill in overlength and Thomas is inept trying to front Santana standards such as "Black Magic Woman." Borboletta showcases a sullen Santana fronting an equally lethargic band and cursed by the ugliest cover art ever to appear on a Santana record. It's the splat of the band finally hitting the proverbial wall.

frustrated by tepid record sales, Santana ditched his dalliance with jazz and returned to Latin rock glory with Amigos (Columbia, 1976). Though he was still billed as "Devadip" Carlos Santana he was drifting away from his guru, Sri Chimoy, and would leave both him and jazz behind for the rest of his career. Blues For Salvador (Columbia, 1987) won a Grammy for Best Instrumental and Santana Brothers (Universal/Polygram, 1994) is good, but these are primarily instrumental recordings and not really jazz.

The Swing of Delight (Columbia, 1980) pairs Santana with trumpeter Miles Davis' classic quintet colleagues Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter, with Santana's blistering guitar leads replacing the lonely fire of Davis' trumpet, but the result isn't as incendiary as might have been hoped for. Most of the songs on The Swing of Delight are merely star-filled jam sessions lacking the structure and passion of Welcome.

Santana has continued to release instrumental albums, but they aren't jazz and since the 15 million-selling Supernatural granted him late career superstar status on him in 1999, he has wasted the better part of a decade chasing similar success minus similar results. The bottom of the barrel is Guitar Heaven, which sounds like the name for a video game but is a pandering mess of classic rock covers.

At this point in his life, Santana should be financially secure and has married his second wife, jazz drummer Cindy Blackman. In May he released the 22nd Santana album, Shape Shifter (Starfaith, 2012). With the exception of one vocal track it is a recording of instrumentals exclusively, with just the man and his band and no awkward guest stars crow-barred in except his son Salvador playing keyboards.

In an interview, Santana explained why he was taking a break from his overly commercial direction of the past decade.

"In a lot of ways, yes, because I don't need to accommodate lyrics, and I don't need to accommodate artists. I say this in a funny way, but it's more about letting a Mexican play the guitar, you know?"

"I'm never going to wait so long to brew 'em like this anymore. I'm going to make sure that I do one album like this and then another kind. I remember reading that John Coltrane would do one Pursuance album, and then he'd do a ballads album where he'd hardly play a solo—he'd just play the melody verbatim."

Shape Shifter may be a slight retreat for Santana from pop music and a return to pulling power chords from his guitar, but it's not going to be "Welcome: The Sequel." That was a different man making different music in a different time. The Santana of 1973 is not the Santana of 2012, but that man would not be the one he is now had he not chased his inner Coltrane and made a record as bold, brave and eternally beautiful as Welcome."- All About Jazz

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Italian symphonic duo augmented by an array of musicians. Malaavia doesn't particularly try to go for that classic Italian sound - instead it has a little bit more of a modern feel. Female and male vocals sit well together contributing a very uptempo sound. I found this to be a particuarly well recorded disc - some of the acoustic parts were simply gorgeous.
    $17.00
  • "Henry Fool's Men Singing is an ambitious four track instrumental album featuring members of No-Man, I Monster and Roxy Music. Equal parts dynamic drums, spiky guitars and atmospheric washes of fluttering flutes and vintage keyboards, the album was produced and arranged by Stephen Bennett (keyboards) and Tim Bowness (guitar), and mixed by Jarrod Gosling (I Monster/Regal Worm), who also contributes Mellotron, glockenspiel and artwork. Appearing on two of the four tracks, Phil Manzanera's legendary guitar skills can be heard in the context of long-form instrumental music for the first time since his celebrated stint in 1970s mavericks Quiet Sun. Other contributions come from Peter Chilvers (bass), Michael Bearpark (guitar), Andrew Booker (drums), Myke Clifford (sax/flute) and violinist Steve Bingham. A vibrant and instinctive contemporary take on Progressive, Psychedelic and Jazz Rock styles, Men Singing is available as a limited edition cd in vinyl replica artwork. Mastered by Pink Floyd sound engineer, Andy Jackson."
    $15.00
  • ""Two years after Iridule, finally the italian band Yugen comes back with its first live album. The cd captures the show at RIO Fest 2011, in Carmaux, France, and presents the group in an extraordinary seven-member line-up.As Sid Smith writes in the liner notes, Mirrors is "a dizzying cavalcade of turn-on-a-dime rhythms, intriguing harmonies and striking, anthemic melodies that have a habit of drilling down deep into the consciousness of the listener"."Yugen represents an exciting forward-looking trend in European music", Smith underlines, "marrying both intellect and emotion in one seamless and coherent partnership. How successful they are in this endeavour you can judge for yourself by playing this remarkable and frequently thrilling live souvenir.""
    $18.00
  • Tiger Moth Tales is the working name for British multi-instrumentalist Peter Jones.  Mr. Jones has great facility on all instruments and all the more impressive considering he is blind.  He's also a fine vocalist, having had a run on the British X-Factor competition.Cocoon is a conceptual piece based around the four seasons.  The album has a contemporary sound but there are some obvious old school references.  Genesis, Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips solo work seems to be an influence as is the carnival elements of Haken.  In many ways I'm reminded of Big Big Train - one would think they drank from the same well.  Take something old and create something fresh.  No metal here although some flashes of heavy guitar now and then which work well against the acoustic bits.  Hackett vs. Phillips.  Not sure what it is about the British prog musicians but every once in awhile they create something that has a certain peaceful, tranquil vibe.  I often refer back to that old "Rain" album.  Long on mood and maybe short on chops.  Here we have the mood but Mr. Jones has injected the chops as well.  Highly recommended.
    $10.00
  • "Insurgentes is the new documentary film about Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) directed by Lasse Hoile. Porcupine Tree are currently enjoying massive success across the world with their latest album, The Incident. Insurgentes is a musical road movie that follows the making of his solo record of the same name, and is a portrait of an increasingly rare artist who works with music and media out of love and not for fame and fortune, persisting in making art on his own terms in a world where 'throw away' mentality is increasingly becoming the norm. The film features footage of Wilson with other artists and friends including Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth, Jonas Renkse from Katatonia, the Israeli superstar Aviv Geffen, and the legendary producer Trevor Horn."
    $9.00
  • Recorded during the band's live performance residency in Tokyo, this is a complete rendition of the first album, Storia Di Un Minuto."To celebrate the 40 years anniversary of "L'isola di niente", PFM have recorded an incredible series of live albums, where they play the original first 5 LPs tracklist in its entirety for the first time ever. This energetic new version it is called "Un minuto" features the first historic LP "Storia di un minuto" with all its fantastic tracks including, for the first time, "Grazie davvero", never played live before.Released in CD papersleeve, "Un minuto" is part of a series which includes the first PFM's five albums reproduced live, to be collected in an elegant box called "Il suono del tempo"."
    $19.00
  • New vinyl edition cut from the original master tapes of the 1970 mix.  200 gram pressing  Comes with a drop card for mp3 download.
    $28.00
  • Third album from this orchestral prog band, recorded in 1971. This remastered edition comes with six bonus tracks and new liner notes.
    $11.00
  • "Esoteric are pleased to announce the reissues of the entire Vertigo label recordings by Jackson Heights, the group founded by Lee Jackson, bass guitarist and vocalist with The Nice. Upon the demise of The Nice, Jackson founded his new band, recording one album for CHARISMA before moving home to the legendary Vertigo label, for whom the band recorded three albums. By this time Lee Jackson had assembled a new line up of Brian Chatton (Keyboards), John McBurnie (Guitar) and Mike Giles (formerly of King Crimson) (drums). This line-up was the band’s finest with The Fifth Avenue Bus being their debut for the Swirl label."
    $17.00
  • We have some customers who collect digipaks. This is the import version of +4626 Comfortzone.  The content is identical to the much less expensive domestic jewel box version.  If you need to have a digi version jump on it as this is a limited edition and will definitely go out of print.Latest studio album from this outstanding band from Sweden.  The best thing about Beardfish is their ability to be contemporary but they blend in just enough old school sounds to appeal to the entrenched prog fan base.  The band never quite sounds retro yet they incorporate vintage keys and guitar sounds. Chalk this up to great songwriting. On their previous album, The Void, something went amiss and it didn't sit well with their fans.  The band had taken on a heavier edge touching on metal.  Well have no fear - the band has jettisoned all metal trappings and have returned to the sound of the earlier albums.  Swirls of organ and Mellotron are everywhere and the unmistakeable sound of the Rickenbacker bass will slam you in the gut.  Are you are fan of Anekdoten, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, or even The Flower Kings?  You need to hear this.With regards to the bizarre album title here is a clue from the band:“The comfort zone is the invisible protective suit of negative thinking, almost like an entity of itself. It’s been with you since birth: your parents and your teachers and your friends and your neighbours all teaching you the way the world works – this is how it is and will be and there’s nothing you can do about it. The negative vibe is like a voice living inside of you, a companion through life. With time you start to like that voice and the place it takes you to: your comfort zone. I’m so sick and tired of it and I want to address it and maybe in that way start to work my way out of it”+4626 Comfortzone comes with a bonus CD featuring 13 previously unreleased demo and outtake tracks spanning 2002-2008.BUY OR DIE!
    $17.00
  • Remastered edition of the second ELO album.  Roy Wood split to form Wizzard and Jeff Lynne pretty much took control and ran with the concept.  While there were better things to come, it was all in all still a pretty damn amalgam of prog, classical and pop.  Comes with 4 bonus tracks.
    $8.00
  • What a great singer Ian Parry is. This guy simply doesn't get the recognition he deserves. He's the prototypical metal singer - great control and range. This is his fourth Consortium Project album. The lineup eschews the previous three's all-star approach. The core band is Ian Parry on vocals, plus Joshua Dutrieux on guitars as well as Ivar De Graaf on drums. There is an assortment of singers and musicians filling in the musical nooks and crannys. Dutrieux and De Graaf are the primary songwriters as well. Children Of Tomorrow is a futuristic concept album. The music is pure melodic metal/AOR. It has a real epic feel. Stick Parry's voice in front a choir and you can't help but get a big sound.
    $3.00
  • "Dangerdog has been inundated with female led metal bands since the beginning of the year. Here's another one: A Sound of Thunder, from Washington DC, with Nina Osegueda at the microphone. Out of the Darkness is their second release.Thankfully, Ms. Osegueda and the band don't fall into the operatic symphonic metal category, nor the weepy melancholy of gothic metal, although I'm sure she could easily do both. And, believe it or not, there's no moron offering death growl accents. This is pure, no bullshit, classic American heavy metal, equally vital in the Eighties as much as it's need today.For Nina's part, think a mix of Dickinson, Halford, and Dio in metal diva form. Or for something more outlandish, imagine if country singer Faith Hill went metal. (Listen to the opener, The Day I Die, and you may hear what I mean.) Osegueda will probably laugh at that comparison.Otherwise, from start to finish, Out of the Darkness kicks serious metal ass. It's an unexpected pleasure of traditional metal genius. ASoT can be fervent and blistering as on Murderous Horde, epic and inspiring as on Calat Alhambra, or unexpected and glorious on Discovery. Then they bring the groove (and psychotic girlfriend) on the catchy and fun, Kill That Bitch. Throughout Osegueda shows her effortless vocal strength, control, and range; take note of how easily she dials it down on the ballad, This Too Shall Pass. Look out boys, the next great metal singer is here.A Sound of Thunder's Out of the Darkness is premium, kick ass, classic heavy metal. " - DangerDog.com
    $13.00
  • "Black Sabbath was unraveling at an alarming rate around the time of their second to last album with original singer Ozzy Osbourne, 1976's Technical Ecstasy. The band was getting further and further from their original musical path, as they began experimenting with their trademark sludge-metal sound. While it was not as off-the-mark as their final album with Osbourne, 1978's Never Say Die, it was not on par with Sabbath's exceptional first five releases. The most popular song remains the album closer, "Dirty Women," which was revived during the band's highly successful reunion tour of the late '90s. Other standouts include the funky "All Moving Parts (Stand Still)" and the raging opener, "Back Street Kids." The melodic "It's Alright" turns out to be the album's biggest surprise -- it's one of drummer Bill Ward's few lead vocal spots with the band (Guns N' Roses covered the unlikely track on their 1999 live set, Live Era 1987-1993)." - Allmusic Guide
    $9.00