The Isley Brothers and Carlos Santana: Power of Peace

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The intense emotional worlds that the music of The Isley Brothers, Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana inhabit are engaged in a mighty collision on Power of Peace. The result is music that pays tribute to the struggles and enduring spirit of humanity. Each of the thirteen pieces probes different corners of our race, allowing listeners to enter private – and some public – worlds in which despair, anger and love and hope – all of which are conveyed in striking terms. The iconic musicians here evoke dramatic and psychological atmospheres as if the whole of group of musicians were looking over their collective shoulders but each responding with his (and her) very own sense of urgency, rhythm and colour. And while as its producer Carlos Santana ends up paying tribute to The Isley Brothers, together the group make this collective prayer of positivity, the vibrations of which go out to the entire human race.

Throughout The Isleys and Carlos Santana plumb the depths of feeling. Cindy Blackman Santana does that too when she leads the group into “I Remember”, on which she also makes a vocal appearance even as she puts her flamboyance aside to focus all of her feelings on the lyric as she lets the thoughtful phrasing and overall sensitivity of her voice takes over. At other times, though, Miss Blackman Santana lets her power to rhythmically animate the music take over all of her faculties, which of course include solid musicianship and technical superiority of the battery of drums arrayed before her. Meanwhile Carlos Santana brings all his mastery of the guitar to bear on the music through the interweaving lines of unflinching passion that he has been so well known for ever since he burst on the scene with his iconic band at the Woodstock Music Festival held at Bethel, White Lake, New York from August 15th to 18th, 1969. But there can be no doubt that the show-stoppers are in fact The Isley Brothers fronted by vocalist Ronald Isley and guitarist Ernie Isley.

With their uniquely vibrant, communicative and emotionally committed musicianship The Isley Brothers set fire to the music with their incomparable and soulful vocal power. The disc opens with the appropriately dramatic invitation “Are You Ready”, soars through “Higher Ground” and makes a wonderful turnaround on the classic Billie Holiday chart, “God Bless the Child” before rocking its way through “Gypsy Woman” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You”, which are also the most sensuous tracks on the album, while “Let the Rain Fall On Me” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth” are instant classics. Throughout the disc performances are fierce, haunting and mystical. Vocalastics and instrumentalism are vivid and articulate and seize the attention. Carlos Santana, Cindy Blackman Santana, The Isley Brothers as well as the rest of the impressive cast of musicians – including Greg Phillinganes, Benny Rietveld and the other Isleys – are piercingly alert to the expressive needs of the bold and emphatic art of music.

Track list – 1: Are You Ready; 2: Total Destruction to Your Mind; 3: Higher Ground; 4: God Bless the Child; 5: I Remember; 6: Body Talk; 7: Gypsy Woman; 8: I Just Want to Make Love to You; 9: Love, Peace, Happiness; 10: What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love; 11: Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology); 12: Let the Rain Fall On Me; 13: Let There Be Peace On Earth

Personnel – Ronald Isley: lead vocals; Carlos Santana: lead guitar, rhythm guitar, percussion and background vocals; Cindy Blackman Santana: drums, lead vocals (5) and background vocals (4); Ernie Isley: rhythm guitar, lead guitar and background vocals (4); Greg Phillinganes: keyboards and background vocals (4); Benny Rietveld: bass; Tommy Anthony: rhythm guitar; Karl Perazzo: percussion; David K. Mathews: additional keyboards and Hammond B3 organ; Kandy Isley: background vocals (4, 6, 7); Tracy Isley: background vocals (4); Kimberley Johnson: background vocals (6); Andy Vargas: rap (3); Eddie Levert: background vocals (7); Charles Boomer: lead vocals (9); Cornell Carter: lead vocals (9); Jim Reitzel: additional rhythm guitar, keyboards and bass

Released – 2017
Label – Legacy Music (Sony Music)
Runtime – 1:06:01

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