154

Santana: Live at the Fillmore '68

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Santana: Live at the Fillmore '68 Live at the Fillmore '68 is an outstanding and welcome glimpse into the exciting musical invention of one of rock's most musically creative groups, Santana. It also offers much for jazz listeners to appreciate. At this point in the band's evolution it was called the Santana Blues Band and this quintet of young, talented and broad-minded musicians (featuring talented B-3 grinder / vocalist Greg Rolie) was still one of San Francisco's best kept secrets. What is most striking (especially on this disc) is that the young Carlos Santana had already perfected his own signature sound on guitar — a wedding of wails and wild runs that benefited from the influence of both B.B. King and Gabor Szabo.

Long-time Santana fans will recognize many of the tunes here: "Jingo," "Persuasion," "Treat" and "Soul Sacrifice" especially. But these are looser, less polished — and juicier — versions than Santana's better-known later performances of the same tunes. Rolie's vocals (which were never bettered throughout the band's subsequent years) are kept to a minimum over the two-disc set in favor of energetic Latin rock and exploratory blues rock.

The jazz influence, however, is unmistakable. "Treat," starting off with a two-chord blues exploration by Rolie on piano, is reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi's version of Donald Byrd's "Christo Redentor" then progresses toward Santana's expressive, Wes Montgomery-like cadenzas. "Chunk A Funk" has the feel of one of those late 1960s Blue Note funk tunes popularized by Lou Donaldson ("Midnight Creeper") or John Patton. Here, as elsewhere, Rolie is a revelation on the B-3, offering a heaping helping of Jimmy Smith-like soul.

"Conquistadores Rides Again" is a hot journey through Chico Hamilton's 1965 "Conquistadores" that brings out the Gypsy rocker in Carlos Santana's guitar groove. "Freeway," which topples over 30 minutes (!), starts rockin' that old Sam Lazar / Grant Green groove, slides into Santana's B.B. King-meets-Bo Diddley blues chug-a-lug, and then explodes into a genuinely rousing Willie Bobo-like percussion attack before rocking to its exciting conclusion.

The well-recorded Live at the Fillmore '68 deserves to be heard by jazz and rock listeners alike It's a reminder of how rock could appeal to jazz lovers in the late 1960s (Jimi Hendrix is another). This music is electric, exciting and exploratory. Kudos to Columbia for letting it out of the vaults.


Title: Live at the Fillmore '68 | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Columbia Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "On Ceremony" CD/LP/Track Review On Ceremony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Blind Curves and Box Canyons" CD/LP/Track Review Blind Curves and Box Canyons
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "To The Universe" CD/LP/Track Review To The Universe
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "Syzygy" CD/LP/Track Review Syzygy
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Daylight Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.