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Music Review: Santana – Multi Dimensional Warrior

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For going on four decades now, Carlos Santana has been a national musical treasure.

The thing is, that when you get to be an icon of Santana's stature, and when you've amassed a body of work as large and impressive as a guy like he has done, everybody wants a piece of it. Just ask guys like Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, or Jimi Hendrix.

Which, in Santana's case, has meant a seemingly endless series of compilations of his work. You've got your various greatest hits collections of course. But then you've also got the more obvious attempts to cash in on the legacy of this truly great artist. Having been involved with three record labels — Columbia, Polygram, and Arista — over the course of his great career further complicates things.

What makes Multi Dimensional Warrior different from the rest is the involvement of the artist himself. Carlos Santana was, in fact, intimately involved in putting together this collection of his work — which for the very first time brings together songs that span four decades, as well as songs that encompass his work for all three of the major labels he was associated with.

Carlos Santana himself not only hand-picked the songs included in this collection, he also re-recorded several key musical passages, adding new guitar parts to songs like "Spirit" and "Right Now," and re-sequencing the tracks in such a way that it practically constitutes a brand new album in it's own right.

Multi Dimensional Warrior is no greatest hits set. You won't find "Black Magic Woman," "Smooth," or even "Soul Sacrifice" here. What is here is rather a journey of re-discovery where rare album tracks and obscure b-sides like Abraxas' "Samba Pa Ti" are able to be rediscovered for the very first time.

The album is divided equally into two discs, one emphasizing vocal performances, with the other focusing on Santana's great instrumentals. As previously noted, the songs are also sequenced in such a unique way as to for all intents and purposes constitute an entirely new and unique Santana album.

What this means for the longtime Santana fan, is a rediscovery of not only his amazing wizardry as one of the world's greatest guitarists, but also the musical alchemist who blends elements of rock, jazz, and latino influences like few others have ever done. For the more casual listener, Multi Dimensional Warrior offers that rare glimpse into the catalog of an artist whose reach extends far beyond songs like "Evil Ways," "Black Magic Woman," or "Smooth."

None of which are included here by the way.

Multi Dimensional Warrior will be in stores October 14.

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at The Rockologist, and at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • RhythmicDias

    Nice review, but not a very detailed one, well acceptable since this is a pre-release review. After listening to his earlier compositions, I found this different but the songs mostly sounded devotional (spiritual) to me. This one is indeed different experience, however, does not give the listening pleasure like in the past.

  • RhythmicDias

    Edit to my previous comments: They just refer to the CD1, not CD2. CD2 in fact, makes me listen again and again.

  • Enginetuner

    I just finished listening and watching this album on HDNET, very impressed. The sounds of the iconic guitarist with a wonderful look into his heart, a heart for worship and praise to the creater. I will add this cd to my collection.