Saturday, February 27, 2010

Welcome to Keyboard City

So if Salvador Santana's last name makes you wonder, the answer is yes, he's Carlos Santana's son. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's move on to why Keyboard City, his latest album, is one that you absolutely need to pick up a copy of. It came out earlier this month, and I've been bumping this album ever since. As you might guess from the album's title, Salvador's instruments of choice are keyboards of every size, color, and persuasion, and you'll hear them forming a variety of influences. One thing I really appreciate about the album though is that it's not all about his playing, it's simply one element (albeit an almost always present one) of a total sound that switches it up at every corner.

The best way to describe the album's overall feel is to say it sports a Latin keyboard funk, while employing a wide range of instrumentation in support. The album opens with We Got Somethin', and that's certainly the case. It's got a line of horns punching in the hooks that's catchy as heck. From there, Don't Even Care sports a punchy snyth line that's got a serious Chromeo feel to it. That synth line continues with almost toy-like glee in the next one, Under the Sun. Over it all Salvador lays dome vocals that are direct, catchy, and sing-a-longable. Skip up to the title track, and you'll find some mellow vocoder work flowing, and then to This Day (Belongs to You) and you'll find a cut that's got a Curtis Mayfield vibe going on.

Altogether, Salvador's skills remind me a lot of another experimental keyboarder I wrote about last August, Robert Glasper, and one of his stated influences, Herbie Hancock. Keyboard City has got an unpredictable edge to it that pushes the lines of what you'd expect.

and an older one

Visit his website, his label Quannum Projects, and become his friend on MySpace.

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