There is no mistaking a Santana song when you hear it. Carlos has his way of leaving his fingerprints all over everything he records and All That I Am is no exception to the rule. That doesn’t mean it’s an over-hashed repeat of previous CDs, quite the contrary, it just has that familiar well known (and loved) sound. Sliding into the comfortable home of soft rock or pop, the songs are intricate arrangements that feature the horns and rhythm lines that are distinctly Santana.
All That I Am features quite an array of guest performers, nine to be exact, ranging from Steven Tyler, to Los Lonely Boys and all genres of music in between. Feature or guest musicians have a way of adding to an album, and individually all of them are quite good, but when looking at the album as a whole, I would say one of the missing elements is Carlos Santana being the feature.
“I’m Feeling You” is the most mainstream song on the CD. It features Michelle Branch and The Wreckers, and easily melds into the soft pop, adult contemporary category. The tempo is up, and the extensive horns give the whole package a warm feel. The lyrics are light and beautifully executed by Barnes, however, noticeably missing is the typical dance rhythms that one comes to expect from the band.
Santana most recently preformed the single “I Don’t Want to Lose Your Love” on the American Music Awards with their guest feature artist, The Los Lonely Boys. I consider this one an instant classic. The Latin influenced tempo and rhythm as well as the catchy “hook” style lyrics bore the song into you unconscious mind, where it stays long after the CD is over and you’ve moved on to something else.
There are only four tracks on All That I Am which are strictly Santana alone, “Con Santana” being the most notable. Recorded in Spanish, the song has a heart and a soul. Heavy on the rhythm lines, and rich in horns, it is typical Santana sound and proof that really good music transcends understanding the language it is recorded in.
Carlos Santana’s history with music is long and abundant. He began playing the violin at the early age of five. In 1961 he moved from his native Mexico to San Francisco and continued to pursue his music, a few years later forming the Santana Blues Band. Working hard eventually led to him playing at Woodstock in 1969, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Consumed with using his fame for good the artist’s website features no fewer then twelve charities that Carlos Santana offers his full support, included are: Milagro Farm Workers, Save the Children, Doctors without Borders, and Amnesty International.
It should be noted that the CD, released by a division of Sony, does have a copyright protection program on it. However, there is a personal message from Debora Santana at Santana.com stating that it is not the XCP software that has been in the news. She also states they are in the process of receiving copies of the CD without the software on them and will be updating on how to exchange any with the program for one without.
Though I would have liked to have heard more lyrically from Carlos himself, the CD is still a strong reflection of his music and personal style and well worth the money spent.