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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 September 2013
This is a real treat for fans of the jazzier side of santana ,and especially not to be missed by anyone interested in the earlier work of john mclaughlin .The concert is loosely based around the 1973 album love devotion and surrender , plus several tracks that fit very well into that style of devotional music(mainly tunes by pharoah sanders and miles davis plus two tracks by tony williams lifetime), there is also a medley of tunes by dylan,led zep and a jig , which are different to say the least(its quite odd hearing mclaughlin jamming in his inimitable style to stairway to heaven).The band are on excellent form ,with two drummers , including carlos new wife
Cindy blackwood ,also two bassists . Dave matthews on keyboards is very versatile getting the authentic sounds to accompany each tune and playing with a lot of enthusiasm(lets hope he will influence any new music by santana who have been a bit flat recently(except for when they play live).The concert is dedicated to Claude of the montreal jazz festival , who organised the concert , and who obviously genuinely loved these musicians(he died this year apparently)and he is invited onto the stage for the last track to jam on his blues harmonica.As well as being great music and interesting to watch ,this is also a very happy concert and everybody seems to be enjoying it ,especially Carlos who acts as the band conductor as they onviously did ,nt have lots of rehearsal time.this is a great dvd and will be quite educational to new fans of santana who may think santana are a pop band with guitar.
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on 21 August 2013
Finally this historic performance is available via the great Live At Montreux series. Whenever these two guitar maestros and searching souls meet a special kind of magic ensures.

And here they are supported by a stellar cast mainly from Santana's regular band although McLaughlin bassist Etienne M'Bappe definitely plays a prominent role. On drums Cindy Blackman Santana and Dennis Chambers drives things forward with power and finesse together with conga legend Raul Rekow. And 'new' Santana keyboard player David Matthews really impresses with both versality and inventiveness.

Even though the repertoire comprises 4 tracks from the classic "Love, Devotion, Surrender" album the atmosphere is far from their short legendary tour of 1973. Less fiery guitar-battles and more subdued, but sublime interplay. Among the highlights in this very diverse set is 2 tracks from Lifetime propelled by Cindy (as in her excelent 'tribute' bandSpectrum Road) and a rare chance to hear McLaughlin visiting his avantgardish (acidy) past. And some sublime acoustic guitar duets.

As must be the case with a 'rehearsed jamsession' like this there are some miscues and warts but that only add to the charm of this highly recommendable concert that really lives up to it's name, inviting us to spiritual and musical illumination.
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John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana re-united after almost 40 years for this one-off performance at the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival, here offered in all its visual and sonic glory on Blu-Ray (the audio performance is also available as a 2x CD set).

Fans of these two guitar virtuosos and of jazz fusion in general will inevitably compare this performance to the iconic 1972 studio album ‘Love Devotion Surrender’ and to a lesser degree, the epic performance of ‘Flame Sky’ on Santana’s 1973 jazz-themed album ‘Welcome.’ Many pieces from the 1972-73 sessions are revisited in the Montreaux performance, plus some new stuff including tributes to Miles Davis, Tony Williams and (surprisingly) a strikingly different take on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven.’

McLaughlin & Santana are a formidable duo who obviously enjoy playing together and inspire each other. The band is good too, with two drummers (one is Cindy Blackman, Carlos’ new wife who delivers a full-on percussive blitz-of-a-solo late in the concert), further percussion as in the classic Santana band line-up, competent keyboards and two alternating bass players. Carlos wears a white suit and hat and John a white shirt with black pants, so they even still look like the clean-cut 1970s guitar virtuosos on their spiritual path. Carlos seems to act as default Master of Ceremonies and musical conductor for the occasion, and both look to be enjoying themselves immensely. One thing of which I was previously unaware is that John McLaughlin is a fluent French speaker as he chats away to the audience and makes jokes in French, obviously a man of many talents.

Highlights: ‘Let Us Go into the House of the Lord’, and a sublime acoustic set with John playing an acoustic guitar miked through the soundbox and Carlos playing semi-acoustic, perched on stools like a pair of folkies.

This Montreux performance is not a reprise of the 1972 studio album: we’re in a different age and time, with different accompanying musicians and largely different material. My advice is to enjoy it for what it is: a fine live-on-stage performance by two great musicians, still at the top of their game after all these years. If you’re a fan of the jazz fusion genre, you’re going to love it.

The sound and visual quality of the performance can’t be faulted at any level: it’s as near to perfection as the technology allows.

Minor gripes: the film editing hops around too much between the various musicians onstage and doesn’t focus on anyone for more than a few seconds. Obviously with the performance filmed by cameras from several angles, a lot of material was available and choices had to be made, but the result could have been better (I was left musing what a master film maker/editor like Martin Scorsese might have done with the material, as inspired rock/jazz concert footage is one of his specialities). Also the new-agey spiritual undertone of the occasion – including the cringe-inducing singing/chanting – may not be to every viewer’s taste.

That said this film deserves five stars for so many reasons, not the least of which is the overall quality of the performance and the feel-good factor on this unique historic occasion.
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on 19 November 2013
I am overwhelmed of this musicians, and play The BD very often. First I will admit I have never (for more than 40 years) understood Jazz, and didnt like it? They say this is Jazz, so now Ive become a Jazz-fantast! The ever dark haired Carlos, and nice white haired John (ebony and ivory) plays guitar so lovely that I am glued to the performance from start to end of concert.

And its a pure performance, not a show (thank someone for that), no artificial effects, no smoke, no lazer lights. Only marvellous musicians performing. Carlos and John are not only playing music through the concert, they are actually conversating by the guitars! Carlos looks like to chew a gum through the whole concert, as if he did not even had to concentrate for the task (drummer Dennis the same), experience is visible in a new dimension? And the second drummer (or first) Cindy is a firework on stage.

Audio is exellent, picture also. I just love the concert, hope you do the same!
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on 3 September 2013
This Blu Ray is worth the money just to see John Mclaughlin revisit the two Tony Williams Lifetime numbers, Vuelta Abajo & Vashkar, ably supported by a band who are pretty much on fire he plays some great stuff. The Life Devine is a great way to start the concert & the accoustic numbers are also highlights. Elsewhere it can tend to slip into blues by numbers but the highs far outweigh the lows.
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on 24 February 2014
If you like John and Carlos this DVD will neither suprise nor disappoint you - it's the same high class music and humanity that you'd expect from our intrepid heroes. Carlos's Band is just a wonder - so many flavours - just like your best ever curry. A special word of appreciation for Dennis Chambers - he's got style class and magnaminity!
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on 24 December 2015
Amazing percussive fireworks! The daughter of Carlos is a revelation.
Saint John is not entirely taking things seriously.
A couple of uncomfortably prolonged tracks were probably arranged under the influence...
Worth getting just for the all-too-brief guitar duet.
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on 1 January 2014
They only did one album together 40 years ago and most of it gets a run in this great show. It is 2 hours of guitar riffs being traded off each other and no complaints there. If anything John McLaughlin works harder than Carlos Santana and steals the show but they are both great.
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on 11 October 2013
Two guitarists who have mutual respect and admiration for each other take the stage and bring those ideals to a once in a lifetime performance each allowing the other to have their solo moments and when playing together never over playing, but allowing the music to flow from one another. Watch for your self and then you judge.
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on 14 October 2013
WHY there is no addition of Montreaux in 2011 with Spectrum road ' a good question check out in youtube performance in Montreaux with John Mclaughlin and Spectrum road with Jack Bruce, Cindy, Vernon Reid and Medeski ' hard to understand why it has not appeared here at least as bonus or sth not to mention a separate dvd....
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