Corazón is Carlos Santana's first album for a major label since 2002's Shaman. It marks his reunion with executive producer Clive Davis, who masterminded 1999's multi-platinum Supernatural. Billed by RCA as his "first Latin album," Corazón is the studio counterpart to the guitarist's HBO Latino concert special that featured his band performing with a host of Latin music superstars in his native Mexico.
What was remarkable about Santana’s last album, 2012’s Shapeshifter, was its back-tobasics group effort wasn’t overburdened with a plethora of collaborations and guest cameos (a defining characteristic of the 66-yearold moustachioed guitarist’s recorded output since 1999’s Grammy-grabbing triumphant comeback set, Supernatural). With Corazón (Spanish for “heart”), normal service is resumed: it spotlights fifteen guest performers. Most of them are rising or established stars of Latin music, ranging from Miami legend Gloria Estefan and Spanish flamenco singer Nina Pastori, to Buenos Aires ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Colombian hip-hop group Chocquib Town and Brazilian rocker Samuel Rosa.
A Latin-pop version of Santana's all-star 1999 supersession, Supernatural? A great idea that's fairly well-executed here. "Oye 2014" updates Santana's 1970 cover of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va" for yet another generation, with bass drops and an overzealous Pitbull rap ("We making history, baby, like Nelson Mandela did!"); "Mal Bicho," with Argentine vets Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, is seamless cumbia-psych-skapunk swarming with bee-sting riffs. Carlos Santana's signature tone meshes handsomely with Romeo Santos' breathy tenor ("Margarita") and sells even generic jams ("La Flaca," with Colombian star Juanes).
Throughout its 45-year recording career, Santana — led by the great Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana — has been synonymous with Latin rock. Yet “Corazón” is the first Santana album with nearly all of its lyrics in Spanish. Gathering much of the album’s material from outside the United States, Mr. Santana now embraces the Pan-American rock and pop that he heralded.
2 Stars If you believe press releases, Carlos Santana never recorded a Latin album before “Corazón,” the disc that comes out Tuesday.. That’s sorta correct and sorta not..