1/  Guru Sri Chinmoy Aphorism                  (Sri Chinmoy)                 1.10
  2/  Angel Of Air                               (Santana,Coster)              3.37
  3/  Angel Of Water                             (Santana,Coster)              6.18
  4/  Bliss: The Eternal Now                     (Coltrane)                    5.32
  5/  Angel Of Sunlight                          (Santana,Coster)              14.43
  6/  Illuminations                              (Santana,Coster)              4.20

          Recorded at ????
          Engineered by Glen Kolotkin and George Engfer
          Produced by Alice Coltrane, Carlos Santana and Tom Coster
Turiya Alice Coltrane: harp (2,3,4,5,6), acoustic piano (4), Wurlitzer organ (5); Devadip Carlos Santana: lead guitar (2), rhythm guitar (2), guitar (3,4,5,6), wind chimes (2), finger and hand cymbals (5); Tom Coster: electric piano (2,3), Hammond organ (5), acousic piano (6), finger and hand cymbols (5); David Holland (2,3,5): acoustic bass; Jack DeJohnette: cymbals (2), drums (5); Julse Broussard: flute (2), soprano sax (3,5); Prabuddha Phil Browne (5): tamboura (male); Armando Perez (5): congas; Phil Ford (5): tablas; STRING SECTION (2,3,4,6) - Murray Adler (Concert Master), Ron Folsom, Bill Henderson, Nathen Kaproff, Gordon Marron, Paul Shure and Charles Veal: violins; Anne Goodman, Glenn Grab, Jackie Lustgarten and Fred Seykora: celli; Marilyn Baker, Myer Bello, Rollice Dale, Alan Harshman, Myra Kestenbaum and David Schwartz: violas; James Bond: bass.

          1974 - CBS/Columbia (USA), PC 32900 (Vinyl)
          1996 - CBS/Columbia/Sony (Europe) (CD)
Note: Some of these tracks were remixed by Bill Laswell for 2001 Carlos Santana release DIVINE LIGHT.


Carlos’ collaboration with John McLaughlin was followed by another “solo” album one year later with John Coltrane’s widow “Turiya” Alice, a Sri Chinmoy follower like “Mahavishnu”. Carlos’ spiritual formation continued, and the solo projects were the main musical domain of experimentation to give expression to his spiritual experiences. Carlos became more and more concerned with music that expresses the “everlasting”, as he called it himself, that is “cooked by the essence of spirituality”. In 1974, Carlos was inspired by Indian and Brazilian music for his solo album Illuminations and Borboletta with the band later that year, respectively. As on Carlos’ previous solo album Love Devotion Surrender, Illuminations was the result of a collaboration between several members of the Santana band and jazz musicians. Beside keyboardist Tom Coster and percussionist Armando Peraza, Illuminations features Jules Broussard on sax, Alice Coltrane on harp and keyboard, David Holland on bass, Jack DeJohnette on drums (both veterans of the Miles Davis electric bands), Phil Ford on tabla and Phil Browne added some tamboura drone. The resulting album consists of five tracks, which, apart from the short opening track Guru Sri Chinmoy Aphorism, is entirely instrumental. The compositions on Illuminations are almost all from Santana and Coster, with the exception of the track Bliss: The Eternal Now, which is composed by Alice Coltrane. The musical approach has changed considerably since Carlos’ previous collaborative work. The fast runs that characterize Love Devotion Surrender now make space for long, sustained one-note riffs, a shift that is also evident on the band’s album Borboletta. It typifies Carlos’ changing musical approach, which was becoming more direct and explicit in terms of spirituality. Carlos’ albums gradually seem to cover a path of growing spiritual independence. From the teachings of Sri Chinmoy it seems that Carlos is developing a view of his own. This becomes more evident on the subsequent album Borboletta, with Christian sounding songs like Life Is Anew. Illuminations may be conceived of as an ode to life and its creation. A part of the scatters of words in the Sri Chinmoy Aphorism seems to be pointing at the “breath of life”. The album then proceeds with Angel of Air, which opens with a beautiful haunting flute solo played by Jules Broussard. Although almost all compositions are from Santana and Coster, it is striking to see that the drum section is strongly represented only on Angel of Sunlight, while on the rest of the album there is merely space for Jack DeJohnette’s cymbals on Angel of Air. Bassist David Holland has a very prominent role, and is a driving force for Carlos’ lead guitar work, Jules Broussard’s soprano sax and Alice Coltrane’s harp. The bass intro on Angel of Air is very similar to the one on Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation on the album Caravanserai. When the music swells, it is realized by Jules Broussard’s soprano sax, backed by an 18-piece classical string section that was charted for every track except Angel of Sunlight. Carlos also adds wind chimes, which vanish when the track flows almost unnoticeably into Angel of Water. Alice Coltrane’s composition Bliss: The Eternal Now has the same kind of arrangement as the previous tracks, but here we find only Alice Coltrane, on acoustic piano and harp, and Carlos playing, backed by the orchestra. Carlos plays some fine jazz chops at the beginning of the track, which are reminiscent of his collaborations with John McLaughlin. His playing fits well with the string orchestra and Alice’s trademark harp. Her composition became one of the hallmarks of this historically important album. The fourth track, Angel of Sunlight, is the most distinctive track of the album, both in length and music performed. This 15-minute long track has elements of Indian music, most notably during the first four minutes with Carlos’ Eastern flavored guitar play fitting magnificently with Phil Ford’s tabla. The music then gradually transforms and intensifies, moving from the eastern atmosphere into more conventional jazz territory. Jules Broussard on soprano sax takes over from Carlos and Armando Peraza takes over from tabla and plays an outstanding conga solo for more than 10 minutes, which blends beautifully with Jack DeJohnette’s drumming. In the final third part Carlos comes back to the front after Broussard’s sax solo, which brings back the eastern atmosphere. This is one of the most accomplished Santana compositions up to date. The album ends with the title track Illuminations, a composition similar to the second and third track. Illuminations is, without doubt, Carlos’ most experimental and unorthodox album. At first, the music is difficult to access and understand, which must have left his fans wondering about his current and future direction. It can only be understood within the context of Carlos’ spiritual evolution. The album is an important stage in the musical offerings of that period, an era that eventually came to an end with the release of the band’s album Borboletta in October 1974. Here we may find Santana at their peak, where Carlos’ spiritual growth towards a more independent view and the ecstatic, cohesive mastery of the music played live on Lotus are combined to deliver some of the finest and most refined fusion of Latin, rock, funk, jazz and gospel. Illuminations is an indispensable album, especially for Santana fans, to understand Carlos’ musical development. It may sound uncommon, but make no mistake: it has beautiful moments, and Angel of Sunlight is one of Santana’s best compositions.

Antonio Gavino Chessa (courtesy of the Santana Lotus Page website)


For his third duet album, Carlos Santana, who had been performing the works of John Coltrane, paired with Coltrane's widow, harpist/keyboardist Alice Coltrane, on this instrumental album. Side one includes several contemplative, string-filled numbers, while side two presents Santana's re-creation of John Coltrane's late free-jazz style in "Angel of Sunlight." Columbia Records could not have been pleased at Santana's determined drift into esoteric jazz: Illuminations was the first of the nine Santana-related albums so far released in the U.S. not to go gold. .

William Ruhlmann (courtesy of All Music Guide website)