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Published on Jun 6, 2009
Moonflower is a stellar recording by the Santana Band, made up of both new releases and live versions of classic Santana songs. The live tracks are all from Amigos, Festival, and Santana's brilliant first three albums; there is nothing from the jazzy middle period. Two quintessential, precious Santana numbers are introduced on Moonflower: the title cut, written by keyboard player Tom Coster and hard to distinguish from "Europa" (also on this album, live) until the latter parts of each, and "She's Not There," a great cover of the 1960s English hit. Coster's piano shines on "Dawn/Go Within." But all the new songs are excellent: "Bahia"; "Zulu," with its great Afro-Cuban rhythms; "El Morocco," jazz fusion and a little funk; and two very lovely numbers, "I'll Be Waiting" and "Transcendance." Carlos' blistering, dazzling guitar magic and, as usual, the percussion section are excellent throughout. "Toussaint L'Overture," "Soul Sacrifice," and "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" are always gems on a live Santana album (especially live cuts of "Gypsy Queen," beyond breathtaking). There is something here for everyone, all very good. Moonflower is arguably the high-water mark of the Santana Band, capturing the eclectic character and musical dynamism of its early period, and as a double CD to boot.