Ask any young pop fan who Santana was by the late '90s, and you were sure to have been met with some mighty quizzical looks. But over the course of two blockbuster releases, 1999's Supernatural and 2002's Shaman, Santana was once more a commercial force to be reckoned with. Admittedly, though, it was a calculated move, as Arista head Clive Davis suggested that Santana team up with a multitude of modern-day pop artists to collaborate with. It was a double-edged sword, however -- while a legion of new fans were won over, the move did not exactly please most longtime admirers. And it's these two aforementioned albums (as well as the 2002 set Ceremony: Remixes & Rarities) that the Santana edition of the Artist Collection series focuses on. One small thing, though -- it includes primarily the non-guest material. And by doing so, it leaves off some of Santana's biggest hits, most notably his collaboration with Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, "Smooth" -- so this is far from a definitive compilation of latter-day Santana. Still, you get a healthy helping of Santana highlights from this period, including "Africa Bamba," "Victory Is Won," "Curación (Sunlight on Water)," and a cover of Fela Kuti's "Truth Don Die." But without the guest collaborations, Artist Collection will not appeal to the casual fan, and isn't that the main target audience of compilations?
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato