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Like James Carter, David Sanchez is an awesomely talented, highly hyped tenor/soprano saxophonist who's lucky enough to be recording for a major label. That means lots of people will hear him and his music. It doesn't hurt that, like Carter too, he's very attractive and stunningly photogenic. In the MTV age, that goes a long way toward establishing a career. But, unlike the aging "young lions" of the Marsalis generation, this young New Yorker doesn't restrict himself to ridiculous self definitions of what jazz is and what jazz should be. Street Scenes is the third album by Sanchez and adds bonuses like alto player Kenny Garrett (on the great fours-trading of "Los Cronopios" and "The Elements") and Cassandra Wilson (unnecessarily humming along to Sanchez's marvelous soprano work on "Dee Like The Breeze").
Here's a guy who can find his way around the corners of Monk standards, feed the fires of Latin funk and still have something left to say. His sound isn't as developed as Carter's, but his style sings throughout with the playful inventiveness of Mike Brecker. Sanchez's partner in crime here is the equally welcome pianist Danilo Perez, who's Impulse album, Pannamonk, was one of the joys of 1996. The two work together with a simpatico synergy that makes sense from the modal "Urban Frequency" to the groove of "Street Scenes Downtown." The drummer, Clarence Penn, is often reminiscent of Leon Parker (who manned the traps on the other two Sanchez discs); yet his propulsive energy suits the Latin, Modal, Funk and Bop ranges Sanchez traverses on Street Scenes. This is great music - invigorating, entertaining and worth repeated listens from a talented player who has a lot to say in his varied musical vocabulary.