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Album Review

On this invigorating release, tenor saxophonist David Sánchez uses (primarily) the same working lineup that graced 2000's Melaza. He opted to produce this one himself, however. (Melaza was co-produced by Branford Marsalis.) Like its predecessor, Travesía resounds with rhythmic excitement and advanced compositional technique. But there's a bit more room for spacious lyricism, and even a bit of playfulness. A piece like altoist Miguel Zenon's "Joyful" wouldn't have fit the prevailing mood of Melaza, but here it sparkles. Zenon also penned "The Power of the Word," which closes Travesía on a more aggressive note. There's more non-original material this time around, including a fiery reworking of Wayne Shorter's "Prince of Darkness" and a non-ballad reading (without piano) of the Harold Arlen standard "Ill Wind." Three pieces drawn from Puerto Rican folk tradition — "La Máchina," "Pra Dizer Adeus," and "Yo No Quiero Piedra" (the last also without piano) — demonstrate Sánchez's inventiveness with the indigenous plena and bomba forms. The leader's three originals are also very strong: the urgent yet hopeful "Paz Pá Vieques," which begins and ends with lighthearted two-horn sparring; "River Tales," a sultry, dark melody in a dancing 6/8; and "Karla's Changes," a galloping piece, the title of which is probably inspired by Charles Mingus' "Sue's Changes." Magnificent playing abounds from Sánchez, Zenon, and the other main soloist, pianist Edsel Gomez. Despite the commercial pressures that come with a major-label recording career, Sánchez continues to maintain artistic independence and pursue a compelling and original vision. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi

Customer Reviews

One of the best albums ive heard in a long time

so many jazz cds nowadays are very experimental. the musicians are extremely talented, but the music isnt that great to listen to. However, this cd is beautiful. The songs are very refreshing and David is a creative song writer. It is difficult to break the overused formula of "head-solo-head" but this album just does fantastic.

Spiritual, romantic, sexy music - what more do you want?

This is a fantastic recording by one of today's top saxophonists. The music flows effortlessly from deep wells of feeling. The compositions - and arrangements of standards - are thoughtful and provide elegant platforms for improvisation. But the highlights of the album are Sanchez's eloquent solos - they are masterpieces. On this album, David Sanchez speaks. He speaks from his heart and tells stories that come from a very deep place - a place of romance, memory, insight, spiritual feeling and alignment with greater forces. Listen to the solo on "La Maquina" - it will break your heart. Then listen to the solo on "River Tales" and "Karla's Changes" - both melodic masterpieces. Sanchez has one foot firmly on earth and the other in the stratosphere - part romantic persuader, part shaman. Miguel Zenon provides excellent supporting role on alto, as does Edsel Gomez on piano, with wonderful solos that provide contrast to Sanchez. The rhythm section (A.Sanchez, Glawischnig, Saturnino) are exactly where they need to be, all the time. Glawischnig comes in with a tremendous melodic bass solo on "River Tales." This is an album for falling in love and stargazing, maybe at the same time. This is an album that can survive a breakup. This is an album that goes beyond ordinary jazz albums - it's inspired music making. Download it today and your life will be changed.


A true work of art. This album goes with some of my favorite jazz albums.


Born: 1968 in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

David Sanchez took up the conga when he was eight and started playing tenor at age 12. He graduated from a performing arts high school in 1986, spent a year studying psychology, and then moved to New York City in 1988, having decided to become a musician. Sanchez attended Rutgers University, studying with Kenny Barron, Ted Dunbar, and John Purcell. After a period freelancing in New York with many top Latin players (including Paquito D'Rivera and Claudio Roditi), Sanchez joined Dizzy Gillespie's United...
Full Bio
Travesía, David Sanchez
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Customer Ratings