The Isley Brothers and Carlos Santana effortlessly merge their sounds on their collaborative new album, Power Of Peace. This combination of a legendary vocal-based group and one of history’s most fiery guitar players is straight off any audiophile’s wishlist. While projects combining such long-standing musical forces sometimes fail due to issues with vision and ego, that is surely not the case here. It’s possible that Santana’s prior successes on the charts with a variety of diverse artists have helped hone him into a fearless wandering gun. However, Power Of Peace truly seems as though it’s the result of two musical families coming together.
Founding member Ronald and younger brother Ernie Isley have been making music together for decades, and their bond is bordering telepathic. While Carlos Santana and his wife, Cindy Blackman, haven’t been together nearly as long, the two certainly seem to operate on the same wavelength. While the Isley Brothers helped fuse rock, soul, and funk into a chart-topping sound, Carlos Santana was wowing future collaborator Ernie Isley at Woodstock.
Any worries about the Power Of Peace conceptually are alleviated on the pace-setting opening track, “Are You Ready.” Blackman sets an aggressive tone for Ron Isley‘s impassioned rendition of the question at hand. The mix of guitars is quite obviously strong in Santana’s direction, though Ernie does sneak some licks in while holding down tight rhythm work. Check out that track and the rest of the album in the video link below, then check out our continued thoughts on the project below.
As always, any note played by Santana demands attention, but his style is clean enough to allow Ron Isley plenty of room. The covers from Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Chambers Brothers and other all-star creators give the core band and their cast of collaborators plenty of opportunities to do what they do best. The familiarity of the material on the album also sets the table for a follow-up collaboration with new original material—Santana has been open about the fact he’s been composing.
Closing Power Of Peace with a lengthy rendition of Billie Holiday‘s “God Bless The Child” allows each creative voice a chance to shine one last time. Like previous tracks, the tempo build and the crescendo are straight out of both artists’ playbooks and strike a chord deep in the psyches of longtime fans and fresh ears alike. The harmony of these artists comes as much from their shared attitudes on life as their musical passions. Their like-minded views on the power of love and transcending to higher states meld so easily that it would be a crime if this is last we hear from these legends.