Sunday, July 10, 2016

Santana: Black Magic Woman (2011)

Santana, led by Carlos Santana, perform a wonderful rendition of “Black Magic Woman” at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, on July 2, 2011. The band first recorded this song in 1970, and is track no. 2 on the album Abraxas.  While the song has long been associated with Santana, it was composed and originally recorded by the British group Fleetwood Mac a couple of years earlier.

More to the point, the song was originally written by Peter Green (born Peter Allen Greenbaum), one of the founding members of Fleetwood Mac and one of the world’s greatest blues guitarists. This song, first released in 1968, is found on track no. 7 on its album, English Rose. You can view a live 1970 performance of the song [here], which has a more rockin’ blues feel to it. As one review says, the song is about love and reconciliation: “The infrastructure of this soaring plea for an elusive love is already here, although Green’s contemplative solo leads to a surprisingly insistent call for reconciliation.”

As for Santana’s version, Wikipedia writes as follows: “Santana’s version, recorded in 1970, is a medley with Gábor Szabó’s 1966 instrumental “Gypsy Queen”, a mix of jazz, Hungarian folk and Latin rhythms.” This song was played a lot on the radio in the 1970s, a perennial favorite of rock stations. The guitar playing is soothing and harmonic. Here is the setlist for the July 2nd performance at Auditorium Stravinski.

Both versions are good, but for different reasons.

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