Nowadays, whenever a jazz musician can spell En-dur-ance backwards without thinking on it for too long, you have to believe that saxophonist David Sanborn is the one individual who can do so with authority. His ability to transcend the boundaries of pop, R&B, crossover music and jazz in both contemporary and smooth arenas has allowed him to become one of the most influential artists of the last 30 years. Besides the late Grover Washington, Jr., David's iconic status in jazz has made him one of the few remaining saxophonists of his era to have a sustained presence, inspite of limited radio airplay and commercial exposure. Although there are numerous talents in jazz who skillfully play the alto saxophone with precision, it is Sanborn who has managed to blow away his contemporaries time-after-time. Overall, he has stayed true to his craft without compromising his music for the sake of commercialism. Since 1975, David Sanborn has recorded numerous albums and has gigged with some of the finest artists in music. With his latest release entitled 'Closer' on the Verve Record Label, David has proven once again why his sustained presence is such a valued commodity.
This latest recording visits a side of jazz few connoisseurs get to hear. David carries listeners down memory lane with tracks from names you seldom have the opportunity to experience anymore, which includes James Taylor, Horace Silver and Abdullah Ibrahim. Sanborn also adds a few originals to his eleven tracks of beautifully recorded contemporary songs. As usual, he continues a formula that has always worked by blending pop oriented influences with jazz and a hint of R&B grooves. On such tunes as "Senor Blues" by Horace Silver, Sanborn adds a Latin flavor to a uniquely delightful percussive rhythm, a strong sax presence, coupled with some prominent instrumentation. Vibraphonist Mike Mainieri's strategic vibes are a perfect match to David's multi-fingered note structure. Then there is vocalist Lizz Wright on the cut "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," who by most standards has one of the most dynamic voices of any jazz newcomer. Having recorded her first CD in 2003, she has taken the jazz world by storm with her deeply rooted gospel-oriented interpretations of song. The ebb and flow of 'Closer' is a gem of a CD by any stretch with the addition of such classic melodic tunes as "Poinciana," the slow roll of Sanborn's "Another Time, Another Place" as well as "You Must Believe in Spring."
When experiencing this CD for the very first time, the expectation may be just another commercial sounding recording that was purchased because it was David Sanborn. What is apparent from the onset of Track 1 entitled "Tin Tin Deo" is David's trademark sound. His voice is as lush and sensitive as it has always been, but when you delve into the entire CD you continue to get everything David Sanborn and then some. His many fans already know what to expect when they sit down to listen to his artistry at work. On the other end of the spectrum, jazz beginners who are trying to find their way will become instant fans of 'Closer' and everything leading up to the present. This latest release by David Sanborn is a harmonic, melodic and rhythmic embrace of jazz in all of its flavors. As one of the genre's most enduring figures, David's impressive body of work looms large across the musical landscape with plenty of vim and effervescence.