Compilations are always trying to outdo each other, claiming to be "definitive," "ultimate," or the "the best of the best." ULTIMATE SANTANA lays claim to its title by spanning the guitarist's entire career, from the late 1960s to the early 2000s. It's true that there is a fair showing of the Santana classics of yore, including "Oye Como Va," "Evil Ways," and "Black Magic Woman," but the majority of the 18-track set is devoted to Santana's crossover work in the '90s and 2000s.
In fact, ULTIMATE plays like an advertisement for Santana's star-studded collaborations. In addition to chart-toppers like "Smooth" (featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20), there are collaborations with Jennifer Lopez, Tina Turner, Everlast, Michelle Branch, and Nickleback's Chad Kroeger, among others. This makes ULTIMATE somewhat lopsided as a retrospective, but those looking for a summation of the man's latter-day pop music mixed in with some classics will enjoy this collection.