BACK IN 1973, “MAHAVISHNU” JOHN McLaughlin and Carlos “Devadip” Santana collaborated on the jazz-rock-fusion classic, Love Devotion Surrender. Featuring compositions by John Coltrane and McLaughlin— along with an interpretation of a traditional gospel hymn—the album charted at #14 in the U.S. and #7 in the U.K., and a successful tour followed.
On July 1, 2011, McLaughlin and Santana revisited the music from that period in a one-time performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, which was filmed and released on DVD and Blu-ray as Invitation to Illumination [Eagle Vision].
“It was a real thrill to get back together with Carlos for the Montreux concert,” enthuses McLaughlin. “There is always something that happens when we get together on stage. It’s tricky to put into words, but it has to do with Carlos as a person, and his continual search for enlightenment, wisdom, and a greater love—all of which are very important to me. There’s also his guitar playing, and the fact that we both love Miles and Coltrane—to name but a couple of musicians. All that, plus a friendship of more than 40 years, has given us a certain complicity that can only come after much time together.”
“Reuniting and sharing music with my brother, John, can be summed up as holy, sacred, divine, and fun,” remembers Carlos Santana.
In addition to music from Love Devotion Surrender, the two guitarists played compositions by Miles Davis, Pharaoh Sanders, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Albert Ayler, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Carla Bley, and John Lee Hooker. The ensemble documented on Invitation to Illumination also includes Santana’s wife Cindy Blackman, Dennis Chambers, Etienne M’Bappé, Bennie Rietveld, Raoul Rekow, and David Matthews.
“It was some band,” says McLaughlin, “and we had a great night.”