Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Playing with children

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Supernatural hung out in the CD player for two weeks prior to my penning this review. It just rode with me, rather nonchalantly. One day, the ol’ ball ’n’ chain (permission granted for use of this term) rode shotgun. As Mr. Santana worked his magic in the deck, wifey began to take notice.

"Brilliant," she said, responding to the slow, western influence pushing Everlast’s husky baritone through the swagger of "Put Your Lights On."

"His guitar talks," she said as a Lauryn Hill/Cee-Lo duet floated on another Santana riff. Soon, the ball ’n’ chain got to swingin’ ’round my ankle, clankin’ away to the newest sounds of one Mr. Carlos Santana.

"It really makes you realize that music is a universal language."

Sometimes, it’s good for the journalist to let somebody else do all the thinking and critiquing. Sometimes, the ball ’n’ chain ain’t so heavy. Truth is, by recording an album that invites the likes of Dave Matthews, Wyclef Jean, Jerry "Wonder" Duplessis, Eric Clapton and those previously mentioned to join in the celebration of Santana’s Latin funkjazz, the universality of music does emerge as his testimony. This album is a country, with states of sound bound by Santana’s constitution.

His spiritual and cultural aesthetic may not make the same impression as it did on the wife, but the vibe will be good medicine to many. In the midst of the surge Latin music is enjoying, Supernatural is a timely statement from an elder statesman. And the youthful element suggests Santana’s pleasure with the current torchbearers. He and Clapton’s wah-wah conference which closes the curtain on the disc is simply sublime approval, articulated on some of music’s wisest chords.

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