Couple of initial reactions:
- It is an ok album with a few nice songs (Fillmore East) but also a few very weak ones
- A shorter album with less fillers would probably have been better
- In general I miss the percussion in the mix. The timbales sound is not good (almost "electronic") and is not driving the music as timbales can do. Maybe the official album mix is better than the stream.
- There are a few moments of good rhythm guitar on the album.
- There are many simple riffs that don't hit it. Some song arrangements are not well developed. I don't mind basic work, but some arrangements seem unfinished. Carlos said in an interview that many songs were recorded in just a few sessions to capture the spontaneity. Well, you can clearly tell.
- Suenos stands out because of the slower pace. I think the album could have used a few more slow songs.
- Neal's playing is a bit unpleasant to listen to: over-modified with electronics, fast but lack of soul. This is a style he developed and I guess some people like it. Not really my taste.
- Carlos' playing is often uninspiring: fillers but no killers. There are a few enjoyable moments as well. Wish someone told him to focus on adding a few good solos instead of continuously add his licks.
- Shrieve is good. Not so many specific highlights but the man's style and quality is just outstanding compared to the other musicians
- Rolie is great on hammond. The vocals are weaker but classic Rolie at least
- Isley vocals sound a bit out of place
- Benny doesn't compare to the great David Brown but some decent contributions
- Karl is a bit of a disappointment. I think the gap between Santana 3 and IV is biggest on the timbales.
- Carabello - pity he didn't make the recording sessions. Or did he? If you listen carefully you can hear some congas... Bit too far in the background to give this album a latin touch.
Lastly, Carlos' intro on Anywhere You Want To Go is creepy. They shouldn't have done that.
Will definitely listen to a few songs again today. This album is at least better than All that I Am or Guitar Heaven.
This is just my personal view, trying to be as fair and balanced as possible. I'm sure people will have different opinions but wanted to share my initial response after a first listening.
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