“Caravanserai” by Santana (1972)
Release Date: October 11, 1972
Produced by Carlos Santana, Mike Shrieve
Chart Positions: #8 (US), #3 (Netherlands), #6 (UK), #7 (Holland), #10 (Norway), #11 (Australia), #13 (Denmark), #15 (Italy)
Certifications: Platinum (US), Gold (Canada, France)
Singles: “Song of the World”
Caravanserai is the fourth studio album by Santana released in October 1972. It marked a major turning point in Carlos Santana's career as it was a sharp departure from his critically acclaimed first three albums. Original bassist David Brown left the group in 1971 and was replaced by Doug Rauch and Tom Rutley, while original percussionist Michael Carabello left and was replaced by Armando Peraza. Keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Rolie, who was having a falling-out with Santana, was replaced by Tom Coster on a few songs. The album also displayed a change stylistically. While Santana maintained his Latin rock signature sound he put a broader focus on a jazz-fusion twist. Caravanserai reached #8 in the Billboard 200 chart and #6 in the R&B Albums chart in 1972.
The sound contrasted greatly with Santana's trademark fusion of salsa, rock, and jazz, and concentrated mostly on jazz-like instrumental passages. All but three tracks were instrumentals, and consequently the album yielded no hit singles. The album is the first among a series of Santana albums that were known for their increasing musical complexity, marking a move away from the popular rock format of the early Santana albums towards a more contemplative and experimental jazz sound. While Caravanserai is regarded as an artistic success, the musical changes that began on its release in 1972 marked the start of a slide in Santana's commercial popularity. This album has been mixed and released in both stereo and quadraphonic.
Caravanserai is daring even by Santana's high standards. Carlos Santana was obviously very hip to jazz fusion -- something the innovative guitarist provides a generous dose of on the largely instrumental Caravanserai. Whether its approach is jazz-rock or simply rock, this album is consistently inspired and quite adventurous. Like the type of jazz that influenced it, this pearl (which marked the beginning of keyboardist/composer Tom Coster's highly beneficial membership in the band) requires a number of listenings in order to be absorbed and fully appreciated.
It was the last Santana album to feature Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon, who went on to form Journey the following year.
“Song of the Wind” is the only single release from the album. Though the song failed to chart it displays the fine musicianship Santana came to be known for. The song is driven by Carlos Santana’s lead guitar and is an excellent example of his fluid ability on the guitar.
"Stone Flower" (1972)
Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote “Stone Flower” an album highlight with lyrics by Carlos Santana and Michael Shrieve. The Brazilian musician, Antonio Carlos Jobim, is best known for his samba and bossa nova compositions. “Stone Flower” first appeared in 1970 as an instrumental on Jobim’s album of the same name. Jobim is also known as one of the cowriters of the 1964 classic “The Girl From Ipenema.”