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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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DAVID SANBORN

Live at Montreux

Eagle Vision EREDV 714

 

 

1. Hideaway

2. I Told U So
3. Straight to the Heart

4. Autumn Leaves
5. Guitar Solo
6. Rush Hour
7. PianoSolo
8. Morning Salsa

9. Smile
Bonus Tracks - 1981
1. Love is Not Enough

2. Lotus Blossom

3. Hideaway 

 
 
David Sanborn - Alto sax
Larry Willis - Keyboards
Hiram Bullock - Guitar
Tom Barney - Bass
Buddy Williams - Drums
Rickie Lee Jones - Vocals (track 4)
 
Bonus tracks
David Sanborn - Alto sax
Mike Mainieri - Vibes
Neil Larsen - Keyboards
Robben Ford - Guitar
Marcus Miller - Bass
Ricky Lawson - Drums
Lenny Castro - Percussion
 

 

David Sanborn has possibly the sweetest tone on the alto sax anywhere in jazz. How does he get this sound? Devotees may watch this DVD eagerly for clues but I still don't know why Sanborn has a tone that is the envy of many other altoists. Suffice it to say that he does, and that this DVD catches him at his best - playing with a star-studded group at the 1984 Montreux Jazz Festival.

Dave has been criticised by some people as being too "smooth" but his playing contains plenty of funky passages as well as some amazing soaring up into the heavens. The opening Hideaway is a Sanborn favourite - and rightly so, because it is a glorious theme. It is unashamed jazz-rock: a genre which is supposedly unfashionable but the band brings out its implicit excitement, with the rhythm section thudding out a robust beat. Sanborn's own playing is infused with the blues, which might be thought to conflict with his radiant tone but the two somehow fit together perfectly.

I Told U So is gentler but still jazz-rock. In fact, many of the tunes are in this style, with that infectious beat. It still sounds modern, and it's hard to believe that this concert was filmed 25 years ago. Vocalist Rickie lee Jones comes on stage for a very slow Autumn Leaves. Rickie drags out each note for so long that the words are often indistinct, but clarity is restored by the solos from Sanborn and keyboardist Larry Willis.

Then guitarist Hiram Bullock gets his untitled feature. On his website in March 2008 he wrote: "In case you're wondering what's with me, I'm attacking a nasty little tumor in my throat that I was diagnosed with in January". Sadly, he died a few months later. But he was very alive at this concert, where he solos sitting on the edge of the stage and later provides a visual stimulus with his dancing and general liveliness. His solo turns into Here's That Rainy Day before becoming a bass riff.

After the popular Rush Hour, Larry Willis gets his own unaccompanied solo - again untitled. There's a nice dialogue between Sanborn and Bullock on Morning Salsa, with Hiram leaping about the stage and at one point joining the audience. The concert ends with a rave-up on Smile (not the Charlie Chaplin song).

Then follow three "bonus tracks" from a Montreux appearance in 1981, with Sanborn leading a different group. The tracks include Lotus Blossom (by Don Grolnick, not the Duke Ellington number), with a tasteful solo from vibist Mike Mainieri. A repeat performance of Hideaway brings the disc full-circle, with a thumb-slapping bass solo from Marcus Miller.

The film of the bonus tracks is perhaps not as clear as that of the main items but this is a very worthwhile DVD, with nearly two hours of superior music.

 
Tony Augarde

 

 

 



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