Alto saxophonist/flutist David Sanborn has been associated with everything from electronica, fusion and disco-tinged recordings to Svengali (Atlantic, 1973), a now-classic set he recorded with Gil Evans. Although he's acknowledged as having been influenced by Hank Crawford, Charlie Parker and Jackie McLean, he's not easily categorizable. Other musical partners have been as diverse as Billy Butterfield early on in his career, to Stevie Wonder and The Brecker Brothers. For this set it's a typically diverse gathering of musicians.
Because his music goes down so easily and is (yes!) romantic, some mistakenly dismiss it as being merely some of that bland pablum, smooth jazz. His relentlessly driving sound on "Stoney Lonesome" is like one long hot breath. If the sound is smooth, it's the smoothness of unpitted heat.
On the opener, he slides into "St. Louis Blues," playing with his distinctive warmth, a minimum of frills and not a single wasted note. He's solidly backed up on this one with a shimmering wall of brass (Keyon Harrold, Lew Soloff and Wallace Roney) as well as Gil Goldstein's funky Rhodes. Later, on "Brother Ray," Goldstein switches over to a Hammond B3, delivering a heavy, rhythmical accompaniment to Sanborn's gospel testimony.
On "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town," Eric Clapton jumps in for some very Ray Charles-influenced vocalizing, as Sanborn flavors and accentuates each line with steeped-in-the-blues blowing. With Sam Moore's sweet potato pie vocal on the closing "I've Got News For You," plus more of that Hammond B3 and Sanborn cooking full tilt, it does not seem that they may have left any cobwebs hanging around in the recording studio.
Track Listing: St. Louis Blues; Brother Ray; I'm Gonna Move To the Outskirts of Town; Basin Street Blues; Stoney Lonesome; I Believe To My Soul; What Will I Tell My Heart; Please Send Me Someone To Love; I've Got News for You.
Personnel: David Sanborn: alto saxophone, Steve Gadd: drums; Christian McBride: bass; Rusell Malone: guitar; Gil Goldstein: Rhodes, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hammond B3; Keyon Harrold: trumpet; Lew Soloff: trumpet (1, 4, 6, 9); Wallace Roney: trumpet (1); Mike Davis: tenor trombone; Lou Marini: tenor saxophone; Howard Johnson: tenor saxophone; Charles Pillow: bass clarinet (1-4, 6, 9); John Moses: bass clarinet (5, 7, 8); Derek Trucks: guitar (2); Eric Clapton: vocal (3); Joss Stone: vocal (6); Sam Moore: vocal (9).