Since Carlos Santana, fronting his own outfit in San Francisco, has delivered music that transcends genres, borders and cultures. His legendary appearance at Woodstock performances, hits like “Black Magic Woman” and “Evil Ways”, solo experiments, won nine Grammys for his 1999 album Supernatural, and induction into the Roll Hall of Fame – Carlos Santana just keeps going. His release in 2021, Blessings and miracles, proves this to the core.
Although the first song, “Ghost of Future Pull / New Light”, catches the ear with its vibrato bar and cymbal noodles, it is not until “Santana Celebration” that the percussion and organ become a substantial bed under Carlos’ expressive wailing. This certainly sounds like the classic Santana from back then. Steve Winwood’s vocals over the slow pace and Santana’s guitar on “Whiter Shade Of Pale” are delicious enough for any classic rock lover. While it’s pretty much on the point, both men sound as great as ever, which is a sure highlight here.
With “She’s Fire” we get the first acoustic approach. Although the warbler from American rapper G-Eazy doesn’t appeal to me, I like the modern mix of snapping drums and lead guitar that rises above rap. It’s a decent little tune and speaks the overall strength of Blessings and miracles. Aside from loving every single strip, peel, bend, and yummy sail cut from Mr. Santana – as most music fans will – this outing keeps the guest stars where they need to be. Some feel Supernatural and the like got Carlos Santana to present his signature lead guitar as if he were a guest on his own records. This is where the man is present, making his way through these melodies with his unique presence as he damn well should be!
Elsewhere, Santana plays Living Color singer Corey Glover on “Peace Power” and swaps licks with Kirk Hammett while they step around Death Angel singer Mark Osegueda on the lyrically cutting “America For Sale”. It is certainly a blessing and a wonder that Carlos Santana is still making such good records. on Blessings and miracles, he transcends the more commercial sensibilities of his Grammy tournament with the sound, production and songwriting that make him the unique player he always was.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.