Santana

In Search of Mona Lisa

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In Search of Mona Lisa Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Santana's debut for Concord records is pretty low key: an EP containing three new songs, along with edits of two of those tracks. It's intended as an amuse bouche before the album he recorded with Rick Rubin, "Africa Speaks", but this EP contains none of Rubin's signature back-to-basics moves. Recorded with producer Narada Michael Walden, it's slick and shimmering, existing just on the margins of jazz fusion. The presence of bassist Ron Carter on "Lovers from Another Time" underscores this connection, but the EP opens with "Do You Remember Me," ten minutes of jamming that's too mellow to be called epic. Santana picks up a bit with "In Search of Mona Lisa," which bops to a Bo Diddley beat and contains the only sung narrative of the three songs. It sticks out a bit like a sore thumb compared to the grace of "Lovers from Another Time," which benefits from its glossiness, making Santana and Carter appear to glide. For this track alone, In Search of Mona Lisa is worth a listen, but the other two songs are amiable enough to not be a distraction.

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