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Antonio Sanchez: New Life

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Medusa"

Add Antonio Sanchez's name to the list of modern era drumming titans. He cut his teeth with guitarist Pat Metheny amid stints with vibraphonist Gary Burton and first-call session activities, paralleling his burgeoning solo career that continues to flourish. Sanchez always performs with his peers, and with the superstar dual sax attack of David Binney and Donny McCaslin steering the front line, the drummer imparts diversity on this presentation that tenders alternating currents, dynamic modern jazz fare and a few sensitive moments. It's a multi-hued portraiture of an artist who continues to grow and branch out; diversification is a key factor on New Life.

Nascent pianist John Escreet assists with the groove-building episodes during the piece based on the monstrous Greek mythological figure "Medusa," as the saxophonists spark a heated frenzy via circular unison choruses. Sanchez injects a Latin touch in concert with bristling bop phrasings from the front line and other segments, featuring slippery drum and bass grooves.

It's a festive and robust endeavor tweaked with portentous undertones, as the drummer darts and dances across the kit while the saxophonists tear it up. The band projects a mighty presence, with Binney and McCaslin reformulating the primary melody, counterbalanced with a throng of highs, lows and rapid-fire breakouts.

Track Listing: Uprising and Revolutions; Minotaur; New Life; Nighttime Story; Medusa; The Real McDaddy; Air; Family Ties.

Personnel: Antonio Sanchez: drums, vocals, additional keyboards; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; David Binney: alto saxophone; John Escreet: piano, fender rhodes; Matt Brewer: acoustic bass, electric bass; Thana Alexa: vocals (3).

Title: New Life | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: CAM Jazz

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