Personnel include: David Sanborn (alto saxophone); Lizz Wright (vocals); Russell Malone (guitar); Bob Sheppard (flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Gil Goldstein (accordion, electric piano); Larry Goldings (electric piano, organ); Mike Mainieri (vibraphone); Christian McBride (bass instrument); Steve Gadd (drums); Luis Quintero (percussion).
Recording information: Right Track Studios, New York, New York; Hiatus, New York, NY.
Crossover jazz can be watered down so severely that the jazz gets washed away altogether. Thankfully, there is saxophonist David Sanborn. On CLOSER, Sanborn never goes so far as to take away beautiful jazz harmonies or chordal sophistication. His solos are rooted in the post-bop tradition, and he plays much more than simple pentatonic and blues scales. At the same time, this album is inviting and easy on the ears. Sanborn and company carefully avoid anything that is overly intellectual, or too "outside."
The first half of CLOSER is made up of upbeat Latin-funk tunes. This is best exemplified by the sleek montuno "Tin Tin Deo." Later in the disc, Sanborn explores some mellower, darker ballads, with the highlight being "You Must Believe in Spring." On this tune, Sanborn features the delicate guitar work of Russell Malone and the subtle organ comping of Larry Goldings. The most fascinating track on CLOSER, however, is Abdullah Ibrahim's "Capetown Fringe," a song that centers itself on South African rhythms and a wanderlust-evoking melody. On this selection, Gil Goldstein's accordion gives the song a wonderful quirkiness, which provides an excellent counterpoint to the album's more straight-ahead tunes.
What the critics say...
JazzTimes (p.77) - "Sanborn proves to be a compelling balladeer, spiking the melody with his percussive attack and fueling the melodies with hot-blooded lyricism."
- Tin Tin Deo
- Senor Blues
- Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight - (with Lizz Wright)
- Ballad Of The Sad Young Men
- Another Time, Another Place
- Capetown Fringe
- You Must Believe In Spring