October 9, 2008

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David Sanborn, Here & Gone
Decca Records, June 4
If you like piña coladas and getting snowed in with a TV that only gets the channel with Leno, David Sanborn’s is your jazz. At this point he’s got more Grammys on his mantel than fingers on one hand, and since the Academy doesn’t really care about jazz, this LP is a shoo-in to represent this year. What his sound most forcefully evokes is the incidental bounciness that appears between skits on Saturday Night Live, the show where he got his start in 1979 as their house-band alto sax player, and so the LP begins in true-to-form manner with a vivid, buzzy slice of SNL-ready chill-down, Sanborn following along with Gil Goldstein’s hazy arrangement of “St. Louis Blues.” Upon this, the big-shot cameos start trickling in, first with Derek Trucks’ guitar dabbling in a New Orleans-tinted “Brother Ray,” later Eric Clapton sleep-mumbling through “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” and finally Joss Stone sunning herself in “I Believe to My Soul.” Despite all the commercial trappings, Sanborn does have a unique touch, or should I say grip; he doesn’t so much push or pull out his notes as bend the instrument itself to his will as if it were a two-dollar harmonica. A Eric W. Saeger