Santana - Lotus
Going into the early ‘70s, to guitarist Carlos Santana, popular music was, he told Mojo magazine in its February 2003 issue, “becoming a little like too much chlorine in the pool. We wanted to leave the pool where everybody’s there, and it’s got too much baby pee and too much chlorine—we wanted to go into, like, a lake. We couldn’t swim in an ocean, like Charlie Parker or Coltrane, but we could hang out in a lake.”
In a word, Santana wanted to get deeper, and did just that with his next studio album Caravanserai, which saw Santana leading a completely retooled band to a sound closer akin to jazz-rock fusion than the wild psych-salsa he aired out at Woodstock three years earlier. This deepened with Lotus, his first live album. Spread over six sides, recorded in Japan and initially released only there and in Europe, it captures this deeper period of the band’s history. If Santana was aiming to swim with giants of jazz, he accomplished it here; many of the jams on Lotus wouldn’t sound out of place dropped into one of Miles Davis’ live two-LP sets of the era. And then there’s Santana himself, who rides the wave of an insanely on band, making his guitar at times wail like a siren, at others ruminate on the meaning of it all—definitely far from wading in baby pee.