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Santana

All That I Am (Arista)

This marks the third time in a row that Carlos Santana has made the same album. And if the success of the original model, Supernatural (a multi-platinum 1999 Grammy magnet), explains the project from a financial standpoint, it doesn't make the disc any less redundant.

Although the Supernatural formula essentially treats Santana as a sideman on his own CD, he offers his trademark licks cheerfully, filling every open space that presents itself. At this point, however, the presence of the requisite mega-star cast makes him seem unsure that his comeback will stick -- and if co-producer Clive Davis keeps forcing him to put his name on the likes of "Just Feel Better," in which Steven Tyler imitates Rob Thomas, or "Brown Skin Girl," belted by Bo "Fading Idol" Bice, it might not.

By comparison, "Hermes" and "El Fuego" are more enjoyable, if only because they recall the work Santana did before his career needed propping up and feature no celebrities whatsoever. These cuts reveal a lot more of who he is than the rest of All That I Am.

 
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