Entertainment

Street Sounds: Tight knit licks

<p>Facebook photo</p><p>Soul, funk and Latin rock are given loving treatment on Power of Peace, a collaboration between the Isley Brothers and Santana.</p> -

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Soul, funk and Latin rock are given loving treatment on Power of Peace, a collaboration between the Isley Brothers and Santana.

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Soul, funk and Latin rock are given loving treatment on Power of Peace, a collaboration between the Isley Brothers and Santana.

The pairing of the Isleys (Ronnie and Ernie) on vocals and guitar and Santana (Carlos and Cindy Blackman Santana) on guitar and drums, respectively, has produced a set of spiritually focused soul rock. The lush vocals and sky-bound guitar work resonate sweetly but they're backed by some big thump.

The well-chosen cover songs dating to the '70s and back were selected by Santana and Ronnie Isley for their themes of unity and peace.

The album has uplift and swings hard. Drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, a veteran of Lenny Kravitz's band, is responsible for the low-end muscle that moves Power of Peace down the rails (Higher Ground, Are You Ready).

Carlos Santana has found a willing and able sparring partner in Ernie Isley. Both men wield their axes like psychedelic vikings, piling on drive and wah pedals in dueling conversational style. They jam tightly and it's that united spirit that makes the record biting and sweet.

The edgy abandon indulged in on tracks like Total Destruction to Your Mind finds resolve in God Bless the Child and Cindy Blackman Santana's I Remember.

The group summons magic on their version of Curtis Mayfield's classic Gypsy Woman. The song is celebratory and hypnotic. Isley's lush vocal and Santana's guitar push each other higher. This track and Marvin Gaye's Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) are standouts on an album deep with extended play soul fire.

The record is an ambitious undertaking that owes its success to well-chosen songs and expressive performance. It's among Santana's best in years and a bright return to form for the Isley Brothers.

Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews the latest music releases in his column, Street Sounds, every Friday.

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