All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

6

Bob James & David Sanborn: Quartette Humaine

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
It's much easier to take Quartette Humaine at face value as an organic-and-acoustic outing between two high profile figures known for blurring the pop-jazz line than it is to take it under its marketed premise: a tribute to the famed partnership between pianist Dave Brubeck and saxophonist Paul Desmond. While pianist Bob James and saxophonist David Sanborn recorded this album a mere week after Brubeck's passing in December of 2012, the album isn't haunted by that legend's musical ghost(s); James, who recorded with Desmond during his CTI days in the '70s, occasionally balances intellect and improvisational savvy à la Brubeck, and his "Follow Me" comes off like a very distant cousin of "Blue Rondo A La Turk," but the similarities stop there. No Brubeck or Desmond tunes make an appearance on the playlist, this group never apes the classic Brubeck Quartet sound, and Sanborn's tone is hardly the "dry martini" that Desmond continually sought; it's more of a sultry dish.

Fans of James and Sanborn have been waiting for a follow-up to their platinum-selling Double Vision (Warner Bros., 1986) for more than a quarter of a century, but this might not be what they expected. That album was more of a production record which appealed to the smooth set, but this one is about group chemistry. All of the music is still highly accessible, but it isn't really hook-laden contemporary jazz.

James and Sanborn are joined by super drummer Steve Gadd, who sticks with brushes for a large portion of this album, and bassist James Genus, who delivers plush-yet-centered grounding and occasional interplay. The music this foursome makes ranges from the semi-noirish ("Sofia") to the wonderfully swampy ("Deep In The Weeds"), but it's all basically straight down the middle in terms of conception and execution.

The program begins with the fairly calm "You Better Not Go To College," but things heat up a bit with "Geste Humaine." Sanborn sizzles on this one and James takes a more measured approach, but they meet somewhere in the middle when small amounts of musical dialog occur. "Follow Me" offers the first of several linear Gadd grooves, as James' bounding single note lines run atop the drummer's crafty constructs. "My Old Flame" falls smack dab in the middle of the program and it proves to be the perfect vehicle for Sanborn, whose horn becomes a soul-and-blues weapon of mass seduction here.

While Sanborn is the musical extrovert in this group, it's James' work that tends to linger in the mind when the album reaches its conclusion. His pianistic prudence, married with a sense of assuredness and creativity, sets the tone for this entire album; Sanborn is the soul of the project, but James is the heart and mind behind Quartette Humaine.

Track Listing: You Better Not Go To College; Geste Humaine; Sofia; Follow Me; My Old Flame; Another Time, Another Place; Montezuma; Genevieve; Deep In The Weeds.

Personnel: Bob James: piano; David Sanborn: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, sopranino saxophone; Steve Gadd: drums; James Genus: bass; Javier Diaz.

Title: Quartette Humaine | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Okeh

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Dreams of Belonging" CD/LP/Track Review Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Jigsaw" CD/LP/Track Review Jigsaw
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 5, 2018
Read "Ain't It Grand?" CD/LP/Track Review Ain't It Grand?
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 25, 2018
Read "Man No Longer Me" CD/LP/Track Review Man No Longer Me
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 27, 2017
Read "Cosmic Playground" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "Alive In The East?" CD/LP/Track Review Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018