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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back- I've missed you!
When I received this CD, on the (broken!) CD case is a sticker proclaiming that the album has been 20 years in the making.
I have been waiting much longer than that for this!

One Amazon reviewer has shared his opinion that Santana fans are not waiting for an album like this. I could not disagree more.

Granted, if a Santana album means to you an...
Published on 16 May 2012 by Andrew R

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A change in direction
I'm a lifelong fan, I have all the official albums & most the bootlegs ;-) Shape Shifter wasn't what I was expecting, and sadly not what I was hoping for. Its certainly a shift in direction from an undoubted guitar legend, and it is good that he produces what he wants to, rather than what the market expects which is part of his charm. Some of the tracks just seem a little...
Published on 20 May 2012 by Mr. David C. Derrick


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back- I've missed you!, 16 May 2012
By 
Andrew R (Sandhurst, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
When I received this CD, on the (broken!) CD case is a sticker proclaiming that the album has been 20 years in the making.
I have been waiting much longer than that for this!

One Amazon reviewer has shared his opinion that Santana fans are not waiting for an album like this. I could not disagree more.

Granted, if a Santana album means to you an endless supply of guest artists, radio edits and ego boosting name checks every 30 seconds, then maybe this album is not for you. Never mind, if you quickly turn on MTV something will be along in the next 5 minutes that will be the next big thing.

If you longed for a Santana album of old, maybe your wait is now over. Granted, there may nothing of the quality of Samba Pa Ti, Europa or Toussaint L'Overture, to name but 3, however there is much to love here.

Only one track has vocals, but years ago, when I first started listening to Santana, instrumentals seemed to be more common than vocals anyway.
So sit back and enjoy the music!

I would agree that the album art is not great, and it would be nice to know which musicians played on which track, but that is a small complaint.

This album might not win 10 Grammys or be as commercially successful as Supernatural, but for me it is a great return to form. Is it a retrograde step? No. It is a brave move to turn away from a proven format (although less successful for each successive album)back to just him and the band.

Santana albums at times seem to go in 3's-( the Latin rock influenced Santana, Abraxas, Santana 3; Jazz fusion Caravanserai, Borboletta and Welcome; guest artist led Supernatural, Shamen, All That I Am ). If this is the case here, then I will be a very happy fan for the next few years. Who knows, he may even turn his back on London's o2 and return to the Hammersmith Odeon!
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable guitar artistery, 14 May 2012
By 
Bodhi Heeren (Copenhagen) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
The surprise mega succes of "Supernatural" proved to be a double edged sword for the illustrious Carlos Santana. At one hand giving him a vastly enlarged fanbase after some meager years commercially on the other hand it seemed to stiffen his creative output. Leading to a series of rather lame follow up albums. Albums that was a far cry from his engaging and creative concerts.

So it's wonderful with a Santana record focused on the guitar magic of the maestro and the instrumental power of his more than competent band. The tracks written over a number of years cover lots of ground: jazz, smooth jazz, rock and ofc lots of latin. Some tracks might be rather sketchy but there are also some real beauties all featuring the trademark melodic, fiery lead of Senor C.S., both on electric and acoustic. And occasionally even some intense jamming.

It's nice to hear his yearlong collaborator Chester 'C.T.' Thompson again, Dennis Chambers is ofc a drum legend, Raul Rekow the master of percussion, these people know how to make the complex sound simple and easy. The album closes with two tracks featuring Carlos' son Salvadore Santana - a true master on the keyboards.

This is NOT a return to the visonary creativity of the 70s, "Caravanserai", "Illumination", "Love, Devotion, Surrender" but an enjoyable, sunshine filled collection of guitar music from one of the musical giants of our time.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Santana moves back to his roots and (hardly) and singing! but oh for Rolie, Shrieve, Areas et al, 14 May 2012
By 
Mr. A. W. Riggs "bernard shakey" (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
An instrumental record only so we don't have any of those soul/funk/jazz vocals that have marred many of the recent records, at long last we have a Santana record with the guitar taking centre stage. There's no 'Incident at Neshabur' or 'Song Of the Wind' but it's better than any Santana record of the last 30 years. The songs date back a few years and whilst we still have some of that synthesiser keyboard sound at long last Santana has allowed the guitar to have some room & breath.

I've had the record a week or so and I can see why there are some negative reviews as there's far too much synthesier/keyboard fill but when left on his own Carlos manages to conjure up mid 70s Santana (Festival) but not the dizzy heights of the first 4 records. On the title track, Nomad, Canela & on Macumba in Budapest there's much to like this could be from III if not for that dreadful keyboard noise - but the stand out track is the superb Mr Szabo.

The sleeve notes are odd, hardly any mention of the musicians with much space given over to the plght of the Native American Indian, the record is dedicated to Davy Crockett. There's also some words about the devil from Carlos - all a little schmaltzy. Carlos give Greg & Neil a call next time.

But if you do see this in the local charity shop buy it !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not one of his best but I'm really enjoying listening to this album, 28 May 2012
By 
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This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
I must admit to feeling some misgivings when I read about this album, wondering whether it was really a collection of leftovers that weren't good enough for previous albums. On first listen, I wasn't convinced that I was wrong. But after several plays, it's really grown on me and I like it a lot.

As you would expect, there's some fantastic guitar from the man himself and the band is as tight as they are live. I'm not entirely convinced of the concept of a "wholly instrumental" album and the single track with vocals, Eres La Luz, is one of the best on the album. A few more (preferably Spanish) vocals elsewhere would have improved several of the tracks.

I really like the first three tracks, Metraton is a bit of a clunker, Angelica Faith is a bit cabaret but, though no Samba Pa Ti (I curse thy name, Marks & Spencers!), has a lovely laid back riff. In The Light of A New Day is very similar but even better. Macumba in Budapest (odd title) is a great bit of Santana Latin rock (love the timbales!) that will have me on my feet if he plays it live - when is he coming back to the UK to promote this album?!

One thing is for sure, this is a million times better album that Guitar Hell: Carlos Sells Out. It's not up there with his first four albums but then I'd have been surprised if it had been. But, if you're a fan, it's well worth buying. Never mind the Vegas pension plan, Carlos, please return to London & Manchester soon and play some of this stuff!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A change in direction, 20 May 2012
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This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
I'm a lifelong fan, I have all the official albums & most the bootlegs ;-) Shape Shifter wasn't what I was expecting, and sadly not what I was hoping for. Its certainly a shift in direction from an undoubted guitar legend, and it is good that he produces what he wants to, rather than what the market expects which is part of his charm. Some of the tracks just seem a little pedestrian to me, good for what they are but I feel I'm waiting for Carlos to warm up. A couple of the tracks I did enjoy, but they seem to have a rather unnatural sharp fade at the end, almost as if they have been badly edited after recording. All in all its an OK album, I'm hoping its a sign Carlos still has more to give.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shape Shifter, a Santana album!, 22 Sept. 2012
By 
Mr. Peter Franklin "Pedro" (Cumbria, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
Anything that Carlos Santana does is worth a listen and this is no exception. It's the first album for some considerable time that hasn't either been a collection of collaborations or, his more recent album, covers. I venture to say that most of Santana's fans are really into his earlier work. The problem is that his earlier work was cutting edge. But by the very nature, the edge moves on. His later collaborations produced some excellent music and no doubt more fans, but cutting edge it wasn't. Many fans saw him selling out by doing them. Then followed the rock covers album. Purist were horrified. I've got to say I didn't much like it either and wondered if it was just a way to feather the retirement nest. But then came Shape Shifter.

Twenty years in the making says the cover of the CD I bought. That makes sense. As you listen to the album from the beginning you are thrown back twenty years, then brought forward to pretty much the present track by track. There's a good mix of stuff here. You don't get the raw excitement that his first two albums delivered, but hey, he is forty something years further down the line and still this is no dirge. What you do get is some evocative and moving music, which is reminiscent of his earlier work. There are passages where you feel moved to tears, the way tracks like "Samba Pa Ti" can. You also get excellently played music, not only by Carlos but by his band. It's a smooth (sorry) piece of work.

So in a lot of respects it's a return to the Santana that we knew and loved. But I do have reservations. There's a bit of me that wonders why these tracks haven't been released earlier. Weren't they good enough? Listening to them, I'm not sure. Mostly they're pretty strong. They may be new to us, but they aren't really new. Which brings us back to the cutting edge business. Is Carlos still capable of moving things forward? I don't know. But I seem to think that this a step in the right direction. If Santana wants to say something new, then reverting to the type of music where he was doing it is a stepping stone to doing that. It's not where it could be, but I hope this album does well and it inspires him onwards and upwards. He deserves it and so do we.

In the meantime, without doubt this is a very good album. Getting into new Santana music is one of life's little pleasures for me and this is pampering to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Album, 16 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
Order and delivery summary:
Excellent, no problems here!

Album summary:
First of all I love the cover, and the statement on the back cover near the track listings as well. Santana very much cares about the ancient peoples, which is what influences a lot of his music, especially this album.
He has gone back to his roots on this album, and although I like Supernatural and Shaman I think he did need to move away from collaborations (though it didn't harm his career). On Shapeshifter, we see Santana in full swing again with recognisable riffs and endless solos. There are various genres culminating in the track listing with spacey, earthy drones and melodies to the moody, sentimental songs; which make Santana so appreciated to this day.

I recommend playing this album in the heat of summer, with an ice cold drink in one hand and... well how you enjoy Santana is purely up to you. This album can be listened to all year round though.

Whether a gingerly pacing look into the genre, or as a seasoned veteran of Santana - this album is sure to satisfy.

Enjoy!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars music warrior, 19 May 2012
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This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
I feel still that i am on a total voyage of discovery with the great Santana, i bought a couple of albums in the 1970's and then Festival.(1976) Then i bought his entire collection from 2004 onwards and i am completely infatuated with Santana! He has taken me through so many moods, styles, meanings and up lifting moments more than any artist i have ever known. i have seen him perform live 1975 and 2010( london) i must be honest and say that i didnt like All time Guitar greats ( as i felt that they weren;t the greats, Carlos missed a huge opportunity to re-configure and introduce some small but beautiful little rifts into what seemed endless steel tunes. When he brought out Multi-Dimentional Warrior, the same opportunity was lost on this album too,as all the songs remained the same, as the originals.So this, long awaited, pure instrumental album of Shape Shifter, is different in a more mature way, Using extensive keyboard and synthecizer tones. There is one vocal track.
However, if i am honest, once again there feels to be a big missed moments when he could have again, introduced beautiful sweeping guitar rifts, but tragically there is nothing of that. One or two of these track could almost be played in a ball-room setting of Blackpool ballroom tower.Sadly track 8 which is imense and beautiful, ends rediculously sharply and only after just short of two minutes. i feel that artist loose sight of beautiful,sweeping melodies and feel their offerings are delicious. However, with most tracks the dull tracks go on for too long and are boring and the beautiful inspirational tracks end far too soon or abruptly.
Overall this album of music is polished, accomplished. but lacks the exciting lustre of yester year.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Finally ..., 20 July 2012
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This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
Finally Santana is back with an enjoyable album. This is more classic Santana than the past 20 years. A really nice album which I will purchase as fast as possible (I have listened to it through Spotify), because I would really like to support Carlos Santana's choice to move away from the greasy and mediocre of his latest three albums with the Santana band. Hope he will go back to making albums more like "Shape Shifter".

I have almost everything Carlos Santana has released alone or with the Santana band except "Shaman", "All That I Am" and "Guitar Heaven". The latter was the worst release ever to come from suck a prominent guitar-player.

The only thing "Shape Shifter" lacks is more songs with lyrics, sung by Santana band normal singers, thank you. With a couple of other vocal tracks, I could have given the album five stars. That is, if such songs were good enough of course.

Otherwise "Shape Shifter" is highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Santana of old, 2 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Shape Shifter (Audio CD)
Nice melodies reminiscent of Santana of old.
I do like my guitar music when it uncluttered with vocals etc.
This is very much focussed on the guitar work, which for me has been delivered on a well produced album.
Nice album to have in the background when lying down with a loved one.
Simples
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