Music: The Fire This Time

Thirty years after he shook the world at Woodstock, Carlos Santana is back on top

There they were, face to face, a pair of legends. Carlos Santana, guitar god, spiritual guy and Woodstock vet, whose once great career was sagging, and Arista Records whiz Clive Davis, who signed the 52-year-old axman just when it looked as if Santana's next starring gig might be at the discount racks. It was time to draw up a blueprint for a comeback album. "So," Davis asked, "what does Carlos Santana want to do?" It didn't take Santana long to answer. "Mr. Davis," he said, "I want to reconnect the molecules with the light."

Such helium-filled, heartfelt pronouncements flow frequently from...

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