Reissues remind us that Mr Smooth was once an artiste
This four-title reissue series could easily bear the suffix “The Fusion Years”. After the initial Santana line-up melted down following their third album, their Latin-tinged psychedelia was replaced by the distinctly Miles-influenced jazz-rock of Santana Mk II. If the masterfully moody, ethereal Caravanserai was Santana’s In A Silent Way, Carlos’ barn-burning collaboration with Miles axeman McLaughlin was his own Bitches Brew. Welcome’s fusion is slightly softened around the edges, but it’s still full of worthy tunes, and the two-disc live Lotus finds the Welcome line-up adding a bit more grit in concert.