Santana: Shape Shifter

Shape Shifter
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

The veteran guitarist’s 36th album is a predominantly instrumental set that tries too hard to do too much over its hour long length. It includes everything from “Europa” styled pieces (“In the Light of a New Day”), the American Indian influenced title track and by-the-numbers hard rocking in “Nomad,” but is most successful when the congas finally appear on the acoustic “Mr. Szabo.” The disc is as slick and polished as his upcoming two year Vegas residency implies. Yet even at its most pedestrian, Santana’s inimitable sustained tone remains a force of nature that cuts through the radio ready production sheen and predictable tunes.