on March 9, 2000
It's unfortunate that Santana is finally getting acclaim for what's essentially a mediocre CD (in terms of his earlier work), i.e. "Supernatural." "Zebop!" is, on the other hand, one of his most overlooked albums. The instrumental work here is very strong, and the quality of the tracks is unbeatable--it's definitely one of those albums you can listen to all the way through and then keep on playing it over and over again. What's interesting here is that Santana definitely moved away from some of the styles which he trademarked in his early, and excellent, albums like "Abraxas" and "Caravanserai" without resorting to bland top-40 style cliches. "Zebop!" is definitely among my top 3 or 4 favorite Santana albums.
on July 5, 2004
This is one of the Santana band's finest albums!It's the ideal blend of the percussive,psychedelic funky latin jazz/rock that Carlos Santana has made so famous!All of those bases are covered here,sometimes together as on "Searchin" and other times on songs like the grooving "E Papa Re".Overall 'Zebop!' also marks a return from late 70's stabs at progressive rock and disco back to Santana's classic sound,marked by "The Sensitve Kind",a JJ Cale cover very similar to the bands Woodstock-era radio hits of yore.The bluesy instrumental version of the standard "I Love You Much Too Much" shows that while strong tunesmiths in their own right Santana can TEAR IT UP on covers!"Brightest Star" is a very soulful ballad showcasing some KILLER organ work and a
great vocal arrangement.
"Changes" and "Winning" are both catchy covers given
a little dose of latin-rock even as the firey instrumentals
"Primera Invasion" and the frenetic closering chant "Hannibal" are just shattering fabulous!Ditto for "American Gypsy"-noting that all four tracks wouldv'e fit perfectly on any of
Santana's first trio of albums.Over twelve songs there is no filler,no weak songs and (as always) outstanding production. And happily it lacks the abundance of filler the permeated albums like 'Marathon' and the follow up 'Shango!'.So for those interested in a peak at the early 80's-era Santana,this album
is the best choice by far,in addition to rating very high in
terms of quality within his entire catalog!There should be nothing keeping music fans away from this!
on March 1, 2003
Most of the other reviews focus on the fantastic, must-have content of Zebop (eg; Tales of Kilimanjaro, Primera Invasion) so I won't dwell on this.
The purpose of this review is tell Santana fans that this version is the most definitive available at this moment in our world on cd. This cd has the correct red cover (not pink!), doesn't have the ugly "Compact Disc, Digitally Mastered Analog Recording" symbol in the bottom right hand corner, contains all the lyrics in the booklet plus a photo - and even sports a clear spine!
If you're like me and you appreciate authentic reproductions of LP artwork etc., then this is the version for you. Stay away from the ugly American 1980s cd releases (I mean they were pressed in the 80s). It seems that on www.amazon.co.uk, most of the Santana catalogue bar Caravanserai was released in the last couple of years.
By the way, this review will also show up under the pink Zebop 80s release for some crazy reason - DO NOT BUY THAT ONE!!!
on July 22, 2013
What makes this a truly perfect album is not only the way it was made, but
the way it was performed with such visually stunning creativity, stirring melody
and timeless musicianship that made this masterpiece such a striking work of
art. Filled with hot rhythm, explosive artistry and electrifying rock and roll, the
action gets fired up as the first rate performing cooks with high voltage energy
as Santana made Zebop a blockbuster hit, as it sounds as fascinating when it
did when it first came out in 1981. Also including keyboardist Richard Baker in
an effort to keep the true elements of the first Santana line-up (1968-71) alive,
the supercharged track set kicks off with a high-pitched cover of Cat Stevens'
Changes which is proceeded at rapid pace with E Papa Re, Primera Invasion,
Over And Over, the Russ Ballard-composed Top Ten smash hit Winning, the
beautifully-crafted Tales Of Kilimanjaro, Brightest Star and Hanibal. Yet there
is plenty of great music and heavy components of Latin-flavoured percussion
topped by Carlos' biting guitar work as he and the band pulled no punches as
they made Zebop another Top 20 album that even became their first Top Ten
solid gold album in four years. Though Santana did manage to give Zebop an
overall feel of commercial rock, the songs are performed to unique perfection,
while Carlos bring his guitar artistry to the forefront, which have contributed to
the album's stunning radio-friendly success. Truly hailed as one of Santana's
greatest and most important achievements, you will certainly find the timeless
album to be a thrilling tour de force landmark classic that will always maintain
it's high-rocking vitality.
on November 19, 2002
For all those millions of listeners who enjoyed
"Supernatural" "Zebop" sounds like a perfect
next step on Santana discography.It may not be
-with a reason-as highly rated as the 3-4 first
album of the artist (santana,abraxas,amigos etc)
but on the other hand the production and the
sound of the group is more contemporary for the
modern listener.The group all together is simply
breathtaking once more.The two covers"changes"
(cat stevens)and "sensitive kind" (j.j.cale)
are typical Santana adding this soulfull latin-
rock feeling on clasics as we heard it before on
songs like "black magic woman" and "evil ways".
"I love you much too much" is another great
guitar melody instrumental following the path
of "europe","samba pa ti","moonflower".
Songs like "searching","winning","over and over"
could very well be the "smooth" alike singles
of the album.
The instrumentals like "primera invasion" are
an example of the accurate,virtuoso,latin-rock
sound of the band as we know it through all 70's.
To cut a long story short.
If you love "Supernatural" you"ll enjoy "Zebop".
on May 8, 2001
Having read all the reviews now, for all the "80's era" Santana albums, it is time to speak up, and Zebop! is the place to do it. This old reviewer has been collecting Santana band/solo records on vinyl and cd since he walked out on the stage at woodstock. Glory halleluja! that the "Fillmore" stuff was finally released on a Cd recently. But why all the bad press over his 80's decade material? I'll tell you why, because it's not The Santana Band sound, nor is it the eclectic jazz of the Caravanserai/Borboletta/Mahivishnu period, nor even like his recent 90's experimentation. I've been reading "bad" reviews of his albums, and they all boil down to one thing: it depends on the ear of the listener. Carlos Santana himself does not record material for YOU. He plays for his own inner voices and hopes it touches yours. Carlos is and always has been an experiment in the elemental forces of sound. "Poppy"? You may think so, but I don't think that word ever entered his mind. Zebop! is one of the best showcases for everything that is and ever was "Santana". It is AS GOOD as Abraxas, if not better because it is more polished. Would you purchase a diamond in the rough? I don't think so. Yes the first three Santana albums were a mark in music history. Great is too weak a word for them. Then his forward momentum into the Jazz/Fusion 70's period even firmed up more what we all knew about Santana, the man and his fellow musicians. Carlos has always surrounded himself with top-notch talent, including his vocalists who are used for the "sound" he wishes at any particular moment, and Alex on this one, Shango, Marathon, etc. was the sound he wanted. If you pay close attention to Zebop!, you will note that it is much structured (on the "second side") to be like Abraxas, beginning with the african percussive "tales" into a Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen repeat (note the title reference Gypsy Queen/American Gypsy) and even a Samba Pa Ti take off (yes it's a Cale cover but beautiful), and ending with some hard hitting blues and instrumental. Side One irks some people, because of what? A "top-40" tune? a "Pop" sound? I find the entire journey through Zebop! to be one of natural progression, and exploration with the master himself into every musical venue he ever performed. Listen to words of the opening number, Cat Stevens' immortal Changes IV, which Carlos chose on purpose. It says everything you want to know about the album, and what the musician is trying to say. Zebop! is possibly Santanas best ever effort. It is a milestone in his career, and only for his true fans. It brings together all the early Santana rock, the latin percussive nature of his beast, and the blues/jazz rythme of his soul, and the angelic message he wants you to hear. This CD is a diamond, polished and sparkling, and flawless. If you've been reading bad reviews of Santanas 80's period, and are frightened to try this one, or Shango, or even Marathon, don't listen to them! Listen to your heart. If you like Santana at all, buy this one!
on October 10, 2014
If you love Santana and this album is so good....if you could only have one, you would want this one. Just an awesome compilation of his artistry in music. Old and new vibes mixed into one HOT Santana album! It is in my oppinion, his best!
on June 2, 2014
Why is some of the best rock from the 60's and 70's? Well, because it was from the 60's and 70's. This Santana album is a great example of what made classic rock awesome. All the cuts on this record are fantastic and I'm sorry I didn't find this album earlier in my life.
on July 2, 2013
Santana's 1981 classic. This CD has a lot of vibe. From 80's radio pop-style songs to classic Santana meditative hooks. As to be expected, the musicianship is exceptional with Carlos' signature on every piece. A must have addition to any Santana collection.
Much as I personally dislike admitting to this, Santana is one of those bands (and they are a band in shape and spirit) that I joined all too many people in taking for granted. Basically Carlos Santana is a musicians musicians-one who surrounds himself with like minded instrumentalists,singers and composers. Luckily Carlos and many of these other talented individuals in his musical sphere are more than capable of compositions that are very commercially viable as well. At the same time Santana are not really in the musical framework to be quote on quote "sell outs". After a fruitfully funky but commercial dry late 70's Santana regrouped with some new musicians-keeping on the talented Alex Ligertwood and bringing in keyboardist Richard Baker and drummer Graham Lear from Gino Vannelli's band. In both the creative and commercial sense,the whole change totally paid off.
"Changes",a Cat Stevens interpretation opens the album-done up in a spirited hybrid of folk-rock with Santana's trademark latin percussion. "E Papa Re" revisits the well balanced funk/rock hybrid of the bands late 70's albums wonderfully. "Primera Invasion","American Gypsy","Brightest Star" and the instrumentally amazing "Hannibal"-with its adrenalin fueled call and response solos bring out a more slickly produced variation of the classic Santana sound of their first trio of albums. "Over And Over" is a superbly catchy blend of hard arena rock again held up by the solid bedrock of the bands noted percussion section. Russ Ballards "Winning",of course was the big hit here-done several years earlier by Nona Hendryx but here with more of a rock n soul production sleekness that went right along with the Hall & Oates/Michael McDonald atmosphere of the time.
"Tales Of Kilimanjaro" has a stark,slowly grooving Afro Latin flavor to it and,along with the bluesy funk version of the excellent singer/songwriter J.J. Cale's "The Sensitive Kind" are towo of my favorites here. Instrumentally a mid tempo contemporary Latin soul/rock version of "I Love You Much Too Much",which I somehow always associate with Alberta Hunter,is a highlight as far as Carlos's guitar playing is concerned. Released at the beginning of the post disco period when rock was king on radio anyway, Santana put his newest musical offering into that brew with a compromise: they'd get their arena friendly vocals and guitar solos. But they would not abandon their signature percussion or the jazz/funk fusion elements that had characterized their sound from the get go. One might've thought a band popular during the Woodstock era would've been old hat by the early 80's. This album showcase how,at least in Santana's case, their style and sound would remain endearingly timeless.