Whether or not Journey will ever reconvene in the studio to put together a new album remains an open question, but guitarist Neal Schon is keeping busy with an impressive list of solo and side projects.

Schon opened up about his upcoming releases during a recent interview with Fractal Audio Systems, offering a few details on three new albums that find him exploring his Journey connections in new and sometimes surprising ways. First is 'Santana 4,' which, as we previously reported, reunites the original Santana lineup -- including Gregg Rolie, who later left the band with Schon to start Journey. "It’s fun to get back with Santana," Schon enthused, adding that the project is "full circle for me."

Also on Schon's docket is a new instrumental record featuring contributions from keyboardist Jan Hammer, with whom he released a pair of albums in the '80s. They're joined in the studio by former Journey drummer Steve Smith, and although Schon couldn't provide a title or release date, he did promise the result will be "a double CD" and added, "It’s truly epic and stretched-out. Instead of having a bunch of songs, there are complete suites of music. It’s very organic, like a live record. It’s jammin’ -- the thing is on the ceiling, man. I think we’re all playing at a different level. I’m excited for that one to come out."

Finally, there's 'So U,' a trio project featuring Schon, bassist Marco Mendoza, and current Journey drummer Deen Castronovo. Details are relatively scant regarding this release, but given that it's being released by the Italian melodic rock label Frontiers Records, it seems safe to assume it'll mine a more rock-oriented vein. According to Frontiers, 'So U' will be out this summer; track titles reportedly include 'Take a Ride,' 'Love Finds a Way,' and 'Big Ocean.'

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