M. Detko | Scarborough, Ontario Canada | 11/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is largely an album dedicated to Santana's guru, Sri Chimnoy, The tunes Phuler Matan and others with exotic titles are short modal mantras written by Sri Chimnoy (I have heard him perform them on his own albums, which is his voice accompanied by air organ only). Santana has taken the melodies and brought in the top fusion guys of the day to play them in an improvisational setting. The results are mixed, with Tony Williams pumping out rocky fusion beats over Herbie Hancock's sympathetic but a little harsh-sounding Rhodes. Mind you, in terms of clarity, the production on this album is superb, the best around at the time when I heard it. Also the original was a double-vinyl, with less than 15 minutes per side so that the groove spacing could be farther to allow for extended dynamic range during playback. Great idea but a lot of side-flipping...anyway the music is solid but the material is a little thin, melodically, and the ryhthms closer to rock or latin that to jazz. Mr. Santana thanks Hancock and Wayne Shorter and the other stellar players on this album as the culmination of a dream to make an album with those he considers the best musicians in the world. The rest of the album consists of Wayne Shorter titles such as "Shere Khan, the Tiger" and "Love Theme From Spartacus". I liked the album originally but now I don't listen anymore as I found it to be a little too pretentious, despite the star power."
A Total Rare Swing
W. Noshie | Beirut, Lebanon | 01/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is difficult to rate this album and be fair to all the review readers. To start, yes this is a Santana album. The guitar and the mood is all of a Santana album; yet "The swing of delight" is a total swing from Santana's previous releases. It is not Rock; it is not Rock- Jazz -Fusion either, but a pure Jazz album. Featuring great Jazz musicians like Ron Carter, Tony Williams and Herbie Hancock. How wrong can you be, buying a Jazz album with all these musicians playing in it? Not much. If you are a ROCK Santana Fan, then stay away from this album. If you are into Jazz music and want to hear Carlos Santana perform with some great Jazz musicians, this is your only chance. "
One of Santana's greatest albums
M. Waltermire | Albuquerque, NM United States | 04/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Santana's greatest musical accomplishments as I see it. Though rough in a couple of spots, there are some amazing connections going on in this album, especially between Carlos and Herbie Hancock, who appear together on every track. In many ways, this is one of the better Herbie Hancock CDs as well. A great album for anyone who likes creative fusion and latin jazz when it was at the height of its brilliance."
Love Theme from Spartacus
K. Rothko | Auckland,New Zealand | 11/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this album. Despite its faults, and there are aqueably a few, I absolutely love this album, and have done so for well over 20yrs. I used to borrow it from the library many, many years ago, and each time owed a small fortune in overdue fines. I've had this album on tape, vinyl , and finally cd. The first time I heard this album, in 1985, it knocked me flat. It changed not only what I listened to, but the way I listened to music. It turned me on to Jazz, and taught me to actually sit down and listen......well...you had to as there was so much to listen to! The album features jazz regulars like Harvey Mason, members of the Miles Davis Quartet,Weather Report, as well the Santana Band, and, as one would expect, the musicianship is top notch. The music itself is a heady brew/ fusion of high octane arvant-guarde free-form electric jazz and meditative spiritualist soundscapes. Other reviewers say the results are a bit mixed and spotty, and yes perhaps there is one or two(or three) tracks that are not quite there, but nonetheless, I think the outcome is highly satisfying. My favourites: Swapan Tari is one track all Santana fans ahould hear, with blistering, frantic "free for all" guitar and saxophone(Rusell Tubbs) solos. Its mad but brilliant. Love Theme from Spartacus is absolutely beautiful, starting off with a most quiet, gentle guitar intro along with Herbie Hancock. The inro slowly escalates into a most exotic, ethereal saxophone solo(Wayn Shorter) that almost leaves one in tears of ecstasy, followed by a very minimalist but sensous guitar. Jharna Khala is a real kick in the pants abstract roller-coaster tune with sax(Russell Tubbs) and keyboard(Hancock) topped off by a guitar finish. But probably the best of all is Shere Khan the Tiger. Turn the lights out low, grab your favourite wine, and prepare to be transported someplace else. The musicianship on this one is stratospheric, and the tune surreal and meditative. The song features the most dreamlike, zen like leadout with a most graceful interchange of guitar (Santana), Keyboards(Herbie Hancock), acoustic bass (Ron Carter), drums (Harvey Mason), and saxophone(Wayne Shorter)you will probably ever hear. As for Santana himself, be prepared for some real playing. His guitar playing is an absolute treat, with such a huge range of sensitivities, from slow, elegant, gentle, and minimalist, to fast and furious, and notes a plenty. He has, in my oppinion a very unique blend, with a rock sound , but with a jazz approach. As one reviewer has said , yes, the tunes are a nod to Sri Chimmoy, and are very mantra like with exotic titles. I highly recommend this album, and if you are: a) a guitarist b) a Santana fan, or C) jazz fan, one cannot and should not walk past this album. Be inspired, go change your life, go and buy this album. Superb! "