The best instrumentalists don't just play - they speak. Instruments can move freely without language or diction hampering them, but that also makes it more challenging to deliver a message or establish an identity. Yet the sound of Carlos Santana's guitar is unmistakable: angular melodies with a signature piercing tone, easy to distinguish no matter the genre, from rock to Latin to jazz.
No wonder that "Corazón," billed as Santana's first Latin album, is all about that guitar, despite boasting star vocal collaborators from around the world. The instrument's leading role lets "Corazón" be much more than what would typically qualify as Latin (music sung in Spanish), as the guitar's universal language turns the album into a global mixtape: You never know what you're going to get, or from where.
"Corazón" is a blend of covers and new material, ranging from standards like Bob Marley's "Iron Lion Zion," featuring Ziggy Marley and Colombian hip-hop act ChocQuibTown, to new songs like "Indy," an improvisational freestyle track that's basically a duet between Santana's guitar and Miguel's voice. But there's an element of surprise in the repertoire and delivery that separates "Corazón" from other duet albums, Santana's included.