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Sweet Drive by Les Sabler

Mega talented guitarist Les Sabler mixes sounds, tempos and emotions on his fourth album, Sweet Drive, using gentle acoustic and nylon-string guitar, as well as electric rock fusion. Keeping his original songs with the same edginess and funk as the cover songs keeps the listener glued to this electrifying album. Influenced from George Benson, Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour show through every note on Les Sabler’s eclectic album, Sweet Drive, composed of sweet memories from four covers and eight original tunes.

Surrounding himself with some of today’s hottest talents, Sabler and producer, bassist, Brian Bromberg selected familiar songs to make the heart melt and creative originals to expand the listening pleasure for all ages as Sweet Drive crosses from jazz to pop and into a little R&B. Nothing is held back as this dynamic group of superb professionals pool their talents and ‘go for it’. Smoldering vibes accompanied by flute and splendid strings, "You’ve Got It Bad Girl" opens this album with a sweet rhythm. Title track "Sweet Drive" is up-tempo -like a ride in a convertible along the sunny seashore. Cool horns interact with rich guitar strings, interspersed by richer guitar inflections.

Made famous by Aretha Franklin, "Daydreaming" features Richard Jackson and Toni Scruggs with light, sexy and airy vocals in front of Sabler’s mellow guitar while Gary Meeks adds dimension on flute. Rahsaan Patterson provides background vocals as Vinnie Colaiuta keeps a soft drum backbeat. A full array of strings arranged by Tom Zink gives an even broader range to this song. "Can You Stop The Rain", a chart topper in 1991 by Peabo Bryson, is done with a flow of emotions just as Bryson presented it back then. String arrangement by Tom Zink laid the soulful groundwork for this sentimental tune as Sabler shares his chilling guitar work, each note chosen and performed with a sensual flow. Jackson and Scruggs provide potent vocals, enhancing the artwork of the musicians making this masterpiece what it was intended to be.

Opening with smooth sax, by Gary Meek, Patterson and Scruggs provide gentle background vocals on the somber "I’m Not The Same". Sabler’s guitar accompanies Bromberg on a soft bass vibe. "Struttin" provides ample space for Sabler’s sweet guitar to interact with expansive sounds from Seawind Horns and Lorber’s keen keyboard skills a plucky, suspenseful, up-tempo tune. Softly questioning "Who Am I?" Sabler softly provides backing for Patterson and Scruggs’ gentle vocals. Perking up the beat, "Twenty-Two" features horns along side Sabler’s ample guitar licks.

Listeners old enough to remember the 1980s group Ambrosia, will recognize the giant hit "Biggest Part Of Me," including those twisty, lingering notes, bringing a sensual path to this song. Sabler’s original, "Food Chain" brings Ricky Peterson on B3 into the mix in an exiting romp. Jeff Lorber shows his command of the keyboards while Sabler accompanies on a smooth arrangement. Speaking through his guitar on another, self written tune, "Could You Be," Sabler takes a step back and allows Gary Meeks a luxurious display on sax. Meek adds an exciting texture to the instrumental wrap-up on "Daydreaming." Though for some albums this would seem redundant, on this CD, this second version is just as welcome as the first.

Powerful songs, master talents and great interplay make this album a ‘must have.’ Enough variety, energy and just plain good listening pleasure, is offered on Sweet Drive to make it a must in the CD player.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Les Sabler
  • CD Title: Sweet Drive
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: The Music force
  • Tracks: You’ve Got It Bad Girl, Sweet Drive, Daydreaming, Club Street, Can You Stop The Rain, I’m Not The Same, Struttin’, Who Am I?, Twenty-Two, Biggest Part Of Me, Food Chain, Could You Be, Daydreaming (instrumental)
  • Musicians: Alex Acuna, Brian Bromberg, Vinnie Colaiuta, Jerry Hey & the Seawind Horns, Richard Jackson, Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Gary Meek, Ricky Peterson, Allon Sams, Toni Scruggs, Rahsaan Patterson
  • Rating: Five Stars
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