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David Sanborn

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Album Review

Saxophonist and composer David Sanborn has always been a maverick. A top-notch technician, he has always imbued his playing with deep emotion — indeed, that emotional element in his playing has been his signature since he began leading his own bands on record in the 1970s. He has wed modern jazz sophistication to the smooth jazz groove for many years now, and has followed his muse while remaining a commercially viable artist. Closer is another exercise in ambition for Sanborn and his sidemen. They include bassist Christian McBride, guitarist Russell Malone, Larry Goldings on electric piano and organ, vibist Mike Manieri, and drummer Steve Gadd, among others. The material is a fine collection of pop tunes, standards, and surprises from the jazz canon. First, the bad news: Sanborn and vocalist Liz Wright team up for a version of James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" that is as bland as soy milk. That said, Sanborn's read of Abdullah Ibrahim's "Capetown Fringe" carries within it the joy and dignity of Ibrahim's original and proves to the public something Sanborn has been aware of all along — that the composer's music is truly accessible to the masses. Underscore this for the album's opener, a smoking little groove read of Gil Fuller and Chano Pozo's "Tin Tin Deo." Horace Silver's "Enchantment" and "Señor" are given fine finger-popping treatments, as are the stellar standards "Ballad of the Sad Young Men," "You Must Believe in Spring," and the beautiful "Poinciana." There is a lovely version of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" here, given chamber orchestra treatment. Sanborn contributes a pair as well, in the silvery ballad "Another Time, Another Place" and the album's closer, the haunting "Sofia," with a fine string and horn treatment by Gil Goldstein. Once more, Sanborn has wed his commercial and creative aspirations into a thoroughly engaging whole.

Customer Reviews

"Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"

this is a beautiful song... lizz wright's vocals give me the chills, and they are a perfect complement to the sax.

Ignore the twit behind the green curtan

Originally, I scanned itunes in hopes of a new offering from the divine Lizz Wright. I already had "Salt" and "Dreaming While Awake", and needed a new fix. So I happened upon a collaboration between Ms. Wright and David Sandborne... read the review and then gave a listen. While I agree that Sanborne offers little to highten my awareness of his existance, I must disagree with the former review, in that soymilk has never been so sumptuous. Lizz has only to offer her voice to any palate and it immediately enhances whatever existed heretofore. Sandborne... bland... well, maybe. But don't fault Lizz for his shortcomings. For all I know, this may be the best track on the album... had I listened to (and purchased) more than this sole track, I might have something redemptive to offer on his behalf. As it stands, I can only say, "thanks for tryin', Lizz."

Gotta Disagree re Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight

Maybe I'm biased--I don't know that I've met a Lizz Wright rendition that I haven't liked. But I love the version on this album--she and Sanborn both embue far too emotion for the adjective bland to be applicable. Straightforward? Yes. Traditional? Yes. But not bland ... it comes across far too heartfelt for that.


Born: July 30, 1945 in Tampa, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

David Sanborn has been the most influential saxophonist on pop, R&B, and crossover players of the past 20 years. Most of his recordings have been in the dance music/R&B vein, although Sanborn is a capable jazz player. His greatest contributions to music have been his passionate sound (with its crying and squealing high notes) and his emotional interpretations of melodies which generally uplift any record he is on. Unlike his countless number of imitators, Sanborn is immediately recognizable...
Full Bio
Closer, David Sanborn
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Customer Ratings