By: G. H. Harding

Carlos Santana

SANTANA-McLAUGHLIN --- Eagle Rock Entertainment is releasing Invitation To Illumination – Live At Montreux 2011, featuring the guitar talents of Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin. Almost all of the track from their classic 1973 album Love Devotion Surrender are included on the disc. Also featured is the late Claude Nobs, founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival, playing harmonica on the final track.

On July 1st, 2011 Montreux hosted the reunion of the two master-guitarists. Both musicians have been regulars at the fete across the years, but this was the first time they headlined their own concert together. In addition to featuring music from their classic duet album, songs from tracks from 1973’s Love Devotion Surrender, songs from the catalogs of Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan & John Lee Hooker are also featured. The line-up for this performance featured Santana (Lead Guitar & Vocals); McLaughlin (Lead Guitar & Vocals); Cindy Blackman Santana (Drums); Dennis Chambers (Drums); David K. Mathews (Keyboards); Tommy Anthony (Guitar & Vocals); Raul Rekow (Conga & Percussion); Etienne M'BappĂ© (Bass); Benny Rietveld (Bass); Tony Lindsay (Vocals); and, Andy Vargas (Vocals).

JJ PASSES --- The great singer/songwriter JJ Cale passed last week in California at 74 from a heart attack. His song “After Midnight” became a huge global hit for Eric Clapton; as well as Cale’s song “Cocaine.” 

I well remember his first solo album entitled Naturally, released in 1974; it reverberated in my head and I played it for hours and hours back then. Interestingly enough, he declined to put his image on most of his album covers and kept his vocals low amid the instruments on his recordings. He recorded several first-class albums, including Troubadour and Roll On. He developed a reputation as a private figure and a musician’s musician while his songs were covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Band, Deep Purple, Tom Petty and others. His relationship with Clapton continued and in 2007 they recorded the album called The Road To Escondido, which won a Grammy. 

Said the artist, “Basically, I'm just a guitar player that figured out I wasn't ever gonna be able to buy dinner with my guitar playing, so I got into songwriting, which is a little more profitable business.” No question: Music’s lost a big one here. Rest easy JJ.

If you've never heard that 1973 album; and, are a fan of either, or both ... its a must have set.

MAYER HAWTHORNE --- I first saw this fellow on NBC’s Today show last week, performing his current hit “Her Favorite Song,” and, I was instantly captivated. More Hall & Oates and vintage-George Michael than anything else; is he retro or what?

Andrew Mayer Cohen (born February 2, 1979), better known by the stage name Mayer Hawthorne, is an American singer, producer, songwriter, arranger, audio engineer, DJ, rapper and multi-instrumentalist based in L. A. The stage name Mayer Hawthorne is a combination of Cohen's real middle name (Mayer) and the name of the street he grew up on in Michigan (Hawthorne Rd). 

His new album Where Does This Door Go is without a doubt one of the more infectious items of the year; borrowing as much atmosphere from fun!, as well as betraying his rocks roots. We especially like “Beat Seat Lover,” "Corsican Rose," and “The Only One.” The word that comes to mind regrading the album is refreshing; and, his stage presentation was most compelling. Check out his performance on Today HERE:  

ON THE ROAD TO MAUI --- XM's Brett Winterble, flying back yesterday from Maui with his family, looked over his shoulder to see Kris Kristofferson and his brood. The fantastic singer/songwriter lives on the Island.