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David Sanborn: Here & Gone

Woodrow Wilkins By

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Whether contributing a solo for Steely Dan or backing up Maynard Ferguson, David Sanborn quickly made a name for himself as both a sideman and a bandleader more than three decades ago. And like a true musician, he keeps going and going. Sanborn journeys to the days of big bands and St. Louis clubs with Here & Gone.

Sanborn effortlessly straddles the worlds of both pop and jazz. Among his contributions are the themes to Saturday Night Live and the original Late Night With David Letterman. He hosted the groundbreaking NBC television series Night Music. Sanborn's sax is also heard in the scores for the Lethal Weapon movies. The six-time Grammy winner has collaborated with a who's who of popular music and jazz, including Bob James, Miles Davis, Lou Reed, Santana, Sonny Rollins and Al Green. In fact, Sanborn's cover of Green's "Love and Happiness" is among the most popular soul-to-jazz transitions.

Sanborn's familiar wail comes through on W.C. Handy's classic "St. Louis Blues." This is one of the slower adaptations of the song, and it works. Underscored by a small horn section, Christian McBride on bass, Steve Gadd on drums, Gil Goldstein on keyboards and Russell Malone on guitar, Sanborn delivers this song with a rare expression of soul. Trumpeter Wallace Roney joins the leader for a call-and-response exchange near the song's end. The blues continues with "Brother Ray," composed by longtime Sanborn associate Marcus Miller. Derek Trucks performs the guitar solo on this earthy selection. Eric Clapton provides guitar and lead vocals on the blues-swing track "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town."

"Stoney Lonesome" is straightforward, big-band jazz. This upbeat Hank Crawford tune features Sanborn in front of a larger horn section. McBride and Gadd help set the pace, but it's the other horns that power this piece. Anthony Wilson contributes a slick guitar solo, followed immediately by a sustained Sanborn high note, which sets up the song's fade.

British vocal sensation Joss Stone leads on the Ray Charles composition, "I Believe to My Soul." Stone delivers some old-school soul and Sanborn charges ahead with one of his funkier solos.

One could easily dismiss Here & Gone as yet another album of covers. But what separates Sanborn's effort is he goes back farther—a lot farther—than many of today's recording artists. Rather than simply doing instrumental tracks of pop or R&B songs from the 1970s, he takes some classic blues and jazz songs that—except for "St. Louis Blues" and "Basin Street Blues"—are mostly forgotten and makes it work. It helps that he used a large ensemble, keeping with the spirit of the originals.

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; Eric Clapton: vocals (3), guitar (3); Joss Stone: vocals (6); Sam Moore: vocals (9); Christian McBride: bass; Steve Gadd: drums; Russell Malone: guitar; Derek Trucks: guitar (2); Anthony Wilson: guitar solo (5); Ricky Peterson: Hammond B3 (2, 6, 8, 9); Gil Goldstein: keyboards (1, 2, 4, 6, 8), Hammond B3 (2); Howard Johnson: baritone sax; Charles Pillow: bass clarinet (1-4, 6, 9); John Moses: bass clarinet (5, 7, 8); Mike Davis: tenor trombone; Lou Marini: tenor sax; Keyon Harrold: trumpet; Lew Soloff: trumpet (1, 4, 6, 9); Wallace Roney: trumpet solo (1).

Title: Here & Gone | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Decca Music Group

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