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Santana | Africa Speaks

The Latin-rock guitar hero teams with Rick Rubin for an African-inspired affair.

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WHO IS THIS? Woodstock‘s iconic Latin-rock guitar hero and eternal hippie — still going strong (and still spiritually supernatural) at the age of 71.

WHAT IS THIS? His 25th studio album, reportedly cut on the fly over the course of 10 days with guru-like superstar producer Rick Rubin and an eight-piece band that included wife Cindy Blackman on drums and vocalists Laura Mvula and Buika.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Like the title says, it’s supposed to be a loose concept album inspired by African music. So the grooves run heavier and deeper — and come adorned with more percussion. That aside, there’s no shortage of Santana’s trademark amalgam of classic jam-rock, jazz and Latin music. And no shortage of his stinging, fiery guitar work.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? I Recorded 50 Songs in 10 Days With Rick Rubin And All I Got Was This Album.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While dancing in a muddy field, stoned out of your ever-lovin’ gourd.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Rhythmic, hip-swivelling, invigorating, propulsive, earthy, exotic, immediate, loose, uplifting, passionate.

WHAT ARE THE BEST & WORST SONGS? As you might expect from an album culled from nearly 50 tunes cut in a week and a half, the songwriting feels a bit thin and underdeveloped at times. Though the nine-minute epic Blue Skies does bust open into some seriously heavy blues-rock. And the guitar solos are truly mindmelting.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Well, it’s no Supernatural.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Unless you’re a superfan or a guitarist, a few times might be enough.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A T-SHIRT, WHAT KIND OF T-SHIRT WOULD IT BE? A $500 tie-dye number with a designer label.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? Stream it — and then let it flow right on by.