Album: Santana

Ceremony: Remixes & Rarities, Arista
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The Independent Culture

This seems a little premature: only two albums into his career-reviving contract with Arista, and Santana's already putting out the mop-up compilation of odds and sods. The title plays a bit loose with the facts, too, the alleged "Rarities" only being too rare to make it on to either Supernatural or Shaman. The best of the five unreleased tracks is probably Femi Kuti's "Truth Don Die", whose scudding Afrobeat groove is well-suited to the Santana treatment. The others are routine like "Come to My World" and "Let Me Love You Tonight", containing the basic Santana prerequisites of neatly-tailored urbanity and restrained fire, though neither rises above a smoulder. "Mañana" is desultory in every respect while "Curaciòn" finds Carlos in Jeff Beck territory, with a sophisto-fusion guitar instrumental of characteristic taste and elegance, though not one blessed with a tune you'll come away humming. The remixes are no more inspiring: "Why Don't You & I" and "Primavera" receive new vocals from Alex Band and Jerry Rivera, respectively (whoever they are); Wyclef Jean's take on "Maria Maria" adds a dancehall twitch to the groove, sacrificing flow for funk; and Chris Staropoli's mix of "Smooth" is leaner than before, with an added Latin rhythmic stress hustling it along with greater urgency. None, alas, improve upon the originals.

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