No stranger to Grammy nominations with four to his credit, saxman David Sanchez also received the Latin Grammy for Best Instrumental Album in 2005 with his last release, Coral. Here with Cultural Survival, his latest and first album on Concord Picante Records, Sanchez continues his rich reading on straight-ahead jazz with some really superb sax work and accompaniment, which by the way, does not include a piano on five of the eight tracks--a brave and rewarding approach.
Vibrant guitar plays a key role in accentuating Sanchez. Evidence of this appears throughout, beginning with the 10+ minute opening track, "Coast to Coast," a long, slick, and casual stroll indeed. That tune is followed by the delicate blend of the trademark excellence of Sanchez’s sax and the continued cool guitar of Lage Lund on tunes like "Manto Azul" and the interestingly-timed title track (kudos to drummer Adam Cruz). The mellow tribute to Monk on "Monk's Mood" didn’t go unnoticed either, as a bluesy Sanchez sets out with Lund to add yet another voice to the continuous praises offered by many to the legend.
This album is not just another exercise in self-indulgence by some artist who just wishes to see where he or she can go to appease their own vision. Sanchez strikes a profound and reflective stance in an effort to address, if not affect, the psyche of those of "a younger generation" who, as he states, "live in their own space, their own reality, and not being very conscientious about the world around them." Profound indeed, much like the quality of this project, which should go over well with supporters of great straight-ahead jazz everywhere.