To call "Melaza" an extraordinary body of music is an understatement. Tenor saxophonist David Sanchez coaxes more shades from his horn than many better known players, and he does so with an inherent elegance that belies his relative young age. This is a man imbued with the wisdom of the ages. Residing musically somewhere between Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman and Pharoah Sanders, he balances a hard edge against Latin sensibilities that are at times breathtakingly propellant or melodically poignant.
Produced by Sanchez and Branford Marsalis, "Melaza" is an intellectually stimulating work that speaks to Sanchez's place at the forefront of the jazz expansion. From the Coltrane-inspired "Cancion la Canaveral" to his take on Milton Nascimento's lush ballad, "Veja Esta Cancao," this mines the possibilities of jazz. Sanchez is joined on all but the final composition by altoist Miguel Zenon, who adds brilliant contrast throughout.
One of the highlight of the collection is "Cancion la Canaveral," on which Sanchez and Zenon are joined by Marsalis. The real treat, though, starts with the opening of "Puerto San Juan," and ends with the closing notes of "Veja Esta Cancao," when it is finally safe to breathe again. Extraordinary seems like such a small word.