Carlos Santana reflects on band’s 1972 ‘Caravanserai’ album: “It gave birth to multidimensional music”

Santana‘s fourth studio album, 1972’s Caravanserai, celebrated its 50th anniversary last month, and to mark the milestone, Carlos Santana and the band’s founding drummer, Michael Shrieve, reflected on the jazz fusion-influenced project with ABC Audio.

Caravanserai, which peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200, was heavily inspired by the then-contemporary improvisational jazz sounds that artists such as Miles Davis, Return to Forever and Pharaoh Sanders were creating.

“What was really important about Caravanserai [was that it] gave birth to multidimensional music,” Carlos said.

The album, which yielded no hit singles, was considered a commercial failure, but has become a fan favorite.

Carlos said he and Shrieve were driving creative forces behind the album, along with bassist Dougie Rauch, one of several musicians who had recently joined Santana.

“It just fell naturally normal for Michael and I to grab hold of the reins and lead the horses to another path,” Carlos explained.

Carlos also noted that although there was a backlash to Santana’s new direction on the album, he and Shrieve remained undeterred.

“Everybody left and right were telling us, ‘You’re committing career suicide. This is not gonna work,"” Santana said. “And we were like, the more they say that to us, the more we were determined, not necessarily to prove them wrong, but to see to fruition that this music needed to be birthed.”

Meanwhile, Shrieve told ABC Audio that because of Santana’s new direction, he and Carlos were inadvertently responsible for the creation of Journey.

According to Shrieve, Santana members Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon were unhappy with Caravanserai, so they decided to form a new group that showcased a more mainstream rock sound. Soon, Journey was born.

A special 50th anniversary Caravanserai T-shirt is available now at

Here’s Caravanserai’s track list:

“Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation”
“Waves Within”
“Look Up (To See What’s Coming Down)”
“Just in Time to See the Sun”
“Song of the Wind”
“All the Love of the Universe”
“Future Primitive”
“Stone Flower”
“La Fuente del Ritmo”
“Every Step of the Way”

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