Santana's fourth album, Caravanserai, finally being reissued and remastered by Columbia Legacy/Sony, is a landmark recording for the band. Originally released in 1973, this album marked a change for the band, as they were moving away from the Latin tinged psychedelic pop rock of their earlier recordings to a more ethereal, jazz fusion based sound. Change also brought about line-up shuffles, as after this album second guitarist Neal Schon and keyboard player/singer Gregg Rolie left the band to form Journey. Famed keyboard virtuoso Tom Coster made his first appearance on this release, and he later spent many years alongside Carlos Santana in various incarnations of the band.
The influence of groups such as Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Lifetime, Miles Davis, Larry Coryell's Eleventh House, and John Coltrane are heard all throughout this CD. Latin percussion mixes with swirling organ while Santana and Schon's guitar licks run rampant on each track. While the bands signature melody on "Song of the Wind" still remains a classic, it's the extended breakouts on tunes like "La Fuente Del Ritmo" , complete with an amazing electric piano solo from Coster, and the energetic "Just in Time to See the Sun" that really shine. Drummer Mike Shrieve comes into his own on this albums more jazzy context, and the percussive tandem of Jose "Chepito" Areas, Mingo Lewis, and the legendary Armando Peraza provide the perfect Latin rhythms. "Every Step of the Way" features some wicked guitar work from Schon and Santana, supported by manic percussion and raging organ from Rolie, and stands out as a classic example of Latin jazz fusion.
My advice to you all, don't walk, but run to your local CD shop and indulge yourself in this timeless classic. The remaster job is superb, with every instrument crisp and clear, and you get a nice booklet that goes into the history behind the album. A must have!