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Santana & McLaughlin: Invitation to Illumination-Live at Montreux 2011 (Blu-ray)

Wow...words can really not express just how amazing this concert from guitar legends Carlos Santana & John McLaughlin is. Before I begin, take a read of the musicians that are involved here.

The line-up:

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)

It's basically the current Santana band with a few guys that McLaughlin plays with, and if you've followed either band over the last few years, you already know how formidable they are. First, a little history; Carlos & John recorded an album together back in 1973 called Love, Devotion, Surrender, back at the time when both were riding high, McLaughlin with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Santana with his own band. The album was a guitar players dream, and fans have salivated for years in hopes that these two legends would one day work together again. Fast forward to 2011, and they have one again reunited to put on this spectacular show at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, introduced by none other than the since deceased founder Claude Nobs. Talk about a guitar tour-de-force, this one has it all, not only many of the songs from the 1973 album the two did together, but also some tunes from each players back catalog and a few covers.

It's as if these two guitarists were born to create magic together; just watch & listen to them let loose searing, emotional notes on "The Life Dvine", "A Love Supreme", "The Creator Has A Master Plan", the lovely "Naima", and a stunning "Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord". Despite McLaughlin dipping more into acoustic & traditional jazz over the last few decades, he's absolutely fiery here, his fingers blazing across the fretboard with reckless abandon just like he did back in the '60s & '70s with The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Tony Williams Lifetime, and Miles Davis. There's even a SCORCHING version of "Vashkar" for all you Lifetime fans out there, with John just ripping it up from start to finish. Santana keeps up every step of the way, launching into scalding licks on "Lotus Land Op.47 No.1" , "Duende", and a cool cover of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". The great thing here is that it's not just the Carlos & John show, as you have the incredible drum talents of both Cindy Blackman Santana & Dennis Chambers (each one a monster player and both delivering here), the sizzling keyboards of David K. Mathews, and the insane bass skills of both Benny Rietveld & Etienne M'Bappé. Toss in the rest of the players and you have one of the most impressive cast of musicians, who all seems to be having a blast playing this complex, demanding, emotional music. Just check them all out delivering a raucous cover of Miles Davis' "Black Satin"...stunning.

Really, I just can't say enough about this set. The high-definition video quality is superb (as good as Eagle Rock's Santana Blu-ray released last year), and the audio is killer. If you have a large LCD Hi-Def TV with a good home theater system, this one deserves to be cranked up and enjoyed to the fullest. Guitar lovers rejoice-this is one not to be missed.

Track Listing
1) Echoes Of Angels / Introduction
2) The Life Divine
3) Duende
4) Peace On Earth / Dear Lord
5) A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall
6) Stairway To Heaven
7) Lord's Prayer
8) Free America / The 8th Of January
9) La Marseillaise
10) Right Off
11) Guitar Interlude
12) Right Off
13) Vuelta Abajo
14) Vashkar
15) The Creator Has A Master Plan
16) Guitar Interlude
17) Naima
18) Lotus Land Op.47 No.1
19) Downstairs Blues
20) Venus / Upper Egypt
21) Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord
22) Black Satin
23) Smooth Criminal
24) Land Of 1000 Dances
25) Cindy Blackman Santana Drum Solo
26) A Love Supreme
27) Montreux Boogie (inc. La Grange)
28) A Love Supreme
29) Shake It Up And Go

Added: September 24th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Hits: 2317
Language: english

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