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David Sanborn: Closer

Woodrow Wilkins By

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David Sanborn just keeps going and going. A voice that has remained at the forefront of contemporary jazz for three decades, Sanborn again demonstrates his staying power with Closer. He mixes old and new, offering two original tracks while covering some jazz classics and interpreting an endearing pop tune. Sanborn and his supporting cast pay tribute to such music legends as Horace Silver and James Taylor.

The sense of open-minded adventurousness that's helped make Sanborn a musical icon is prominent on Closer. The ten instrumental tracks, plus one vocal, cover a range of musical and emotional modes, from the tropical vibe of "Tin Tin Deo" to a touching interpretation of Charlie Chaplin's classic, "Smile."

The first of two tributes to Silver is the funky "Senor Blues," with pacing set by legendary jazz drummer Steve Gadd. That is followed by a slick interpretation of "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," featuring the vocal talents of Lizz Wright. This rendition captures the sad, pleading mood evoked by the original. But the combination of Wright's voice, Sanborn's alto sax and the low-key but effective bass play of Christian McBride, this effort adds a dreamy, smoke-filled nightclub feel.

As he has done time and again, Sanborn reiterates his long-standing ability to maintain his identity as a jazz artist while active in the worlds of rock and R&B. "I'm a big fan of structure and brevity, and I think that's something I learned from blues and R&B," he says. "The longest piece on this album is about six minutes. As time goes on, I get more and more interested in the idea of saying more with less, and in saying what you have to say and then getting out."

The 59-year-old Tampa, Fla., native is very effective in communicating his message and getting out. Even the shorter songs, such as "Capetown Fringe," have plenty to offer. This track, penned by Abdullah Ibrahim, is one of the more up-tempo songs on the album, and easily one that earns repeat play, joining Sanborn's distinctive, tinny alto sax with an African-themed, celebratory rhythm. Sanborn then adds a hint of bossa nova on the jazz standard "Poinciana," taking point from start to finish, save for a brief drum/percussion/bass interlude.

Like its 2003 predecessor, Timeagain , Closer provides nearly an hour's worth of cool jazz, blues and a hint of popular music—all done with Sanborn's signature style and expressive flair.

Track Listing: David Sanborn, alto saxophone; Larry Goldings, electric piano, organ; Gil Goldstein, electric piano, accordion on "Capetown Fringe"; Mike Mainieri, vibraphone; Russell Malone, guitar; Christian McBride, bass; Steve Gadd, drums; Luis Quintero, percussion; Lizz Wright, vocals on "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight"; Bob Sheppard, tenor and soprano saxophones on "Capetown Fringe," and flutes; Joyce Hammann and Belinda Whitney, violin; Dave Eggar, cello; Ron Lawrence, viola; Mike Davis, trombone; Sheryl Henze, bass flute and alto flute; Alex Sipiagin, trumpet and flugelhorn

Personnel: Tin Tin Deo, Senor Blues, Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, Smile, Enchantment, Ballad of the Sad Young Men, Another Time, Another Place, Capetown Fringe, Poinciana, You Must Believe in Spring, Sofia

Title: Closer | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Verve Music Group

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