4 out of 5 Stars!
For people unfamiliar with this short-lived San Francisco group, Abraxas Pool was created in the late ’90s by members of the original (or near-original) Santana band—Gregg Rolie (Keys/Vocals), Neal Schon (Guitar), Alphonso Johnson (Bass), Michael Shrieve (Drums), Michael Carabello (Congas), and Jose “Chepito” Areas (Timbales)—but without Carlos Santana himself.
Despite the legendary guitar player’s absence, Abraxas Pool nevertheless recreated Santana’s vintage sound on its one and only 1997 release. From the opening song “Boom Ba Ya Ya” through to the final track, a remake of Santana’s classic “Jingo,” this album contains a bevy of slick and sophisticated Latin Rock, well-produced and well-performed in the style that easily compares to any of the first three Santana studio releases (the platters prior to the band’s more jazz-oriented Caravanserai). Indeed, the ultra-catchy “A Million Miles Away,” as well as “Don’t Give Up,” “Baila Mi Cha-Cha,” “Waiting for You,” and “Szabo” all make me yearn for the original Santana group to return to the limelight.
So for me and many other fans of the quintessential line-up, this became the “Santana album that never was” and that time has forgotten.