The awe of anticipation resonates in the air with each new release by saxophonist David Sanborn. On the flipside this is David’s sophomore project on Verve Records titled “Closer” that’s tightly woven into the threads of its predecessor “Timeagain”, his debut on Verve. Sanborn’s voice first and foremost articulates the principal fabric in this collection of songs without apology. For those of you that might have issue with the musical components on “Closer” remember this record translates into a quality listening experience that’s embellishes more then a just lifestyle. David commissioned to the studio the following musicians to record “Closer”… 

The Players: Larry Goldings, Gil Goldstein, Mike Mainieri, Russell Malone, Christian McBride, Steve Gadd, Luis Quintero, Lizz Wright and Bob Sheppard. Stewart Levine and Rhythm Arrangements by Gil Goldstein And David Sanborn, orchestrations by Gil Goldstein, produce “Closer”. (With this cast how could you go wrong?)  

“Tin Tin Deo” opens in the lead position with percussionist Luis Quintero and bassist Christian McBride taking command of their instruments with tight yet probing solos that are seamlessly anchored by pulsating Latin flavors. At a moments notice David’s steps in with his signature alto squawk that is soulfully identifiable, his prowess and energy turns this into formidable masterpiece that’s been resurrected by the magic of Sanborn’s touch. In the meantime vibe-master Mike Mainieri assures us that he thrives on the pulse of this energetic masterpiece with his complex voicing.  

With momentum from the opener lingering, Sanborn confirms his admiration for the Afro Cuba flavored rhythms; he delves further into the landscape of Latin music with his treatment of Horace Silver’s “Senor Blues”. David teams up with esteem sideman from the previous cut to keep the groove in tack and its proper perspective.  

The marriage of David’s incredible saxophone and the passionate voice of label mate Lizz Wright bridges a harmonious gap on James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”. Sanborn breathes an intuitive freshness into this classic; accompanied by Ms. Wrights radiant voice plays a significant role in this pop classic. 

 “Smile” the next track on tab is undeniably romantic, sublime and nurturing to the soul. Sanborn’s tone is punctual, mesmerizing and soothing drawing you closer into the intellect of Sanborn.  

 David & company picks up the tempo slightly with another composition by pianist Horace Silver this one’s titled “Enchantment”.  In this modest setting his luminaries demonstrate here that there’s no room for being illusive artistically, it’s time stretch out and come to center stage to play the music as they’re doing with remarkable spontaneity.     

“Ballad of A Sad Young Man”, is expressive, atmospheric like, a somewhat bluesy voice at times weaving in and out with hints of colorful shades and textures with orchestration woven in. Sanborn avoids sonic animation of any sort here; the melodies are enriched by David’s gripping passion for playing ballads.     

After all these years of listening to David play I’ve finally come to the conclusion that he’s matured tremendously as an artist. The song selection on “Closer” as in (Timeagain), establishes his love for classic jazz and his interpretation of the compositions are intuitive. With that said, I’m listening to a self-pen composition by David titled “Another Time, Another Place” (actually one of two cuts that he’s written on Closer), yes, he’s come full circle as a composer.  

As stated before I love it when artist embraces the opportunity to record music with artist or music from other cultures, and David explores the sounds of South Africa on this on this trip. David tackles “Capetown Fringe” a composition by pianist Abdullah Ibrahim. The band establishes a strong presence here; their interplay is cohesive, yet the flavorful & rhythmic textures expressively interweave unfamiliar territory with vigor. 

The classic jazz piece “Poinciana” falls into the 9th spot of rotation on “Closer” and with great success I might add. David’s sideman executes with expertise on “Poinciana” giving it a touch of distinction, which is quite welcomed here.  

David & the crew lures you in with another ballad its called “You Must Believe in Spring”, featuring guitarist Russell Malone on the track. Malone’s graceful strumming induces your soul connecting to essence of the song while maintaining that now vintage Sanborn luster. The interaction between the two strikes a near perfect note stirring up the distinguishing qualities that mesh their personalities into one.   

 Closer” comes to and end with another Sanborn penned composition titled, “Sofia”. This composition strikes the chord of resemblance of the other ballads here on “Closer”; the darken melodies explored here embarks on the longstanding relationship that Sanborn plays ballads with compassion enveloped by the intimacy of romance, his voice is strong never wavering yet, somehow with each alluring note he offers a healing quality that only he can skillfully demonstrate.   

Okay, I understand that many of you might be disappointed that there are no “Chicago Song” (etc) type songs here on “Closer”. However, with that said David Sanborn has blessed us with this work of excellence. His music is by no means is blasé, dull, null or void for that matter, his voice is strong and definitely not passive. David’s trademark sound is a permanent fixture that dwells deep in the heart of the jazz landscape (30 years and 21 solo recordings not counting Beck/Sanborn). If you’re into quality music that’s purpose driven that has lasting power than do yourself a favor and test drive “Closer” by David Sanborn at a store near you, you want be disappointed.  



q       David’s site

q Buy his latest anywhere good music is sold.