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REVIEW: David Sanborn, 'Time and The River' (Okeh Records)

By Mike Greenblatt m.greenblatt@classicalite.com on Jul 08, 2015 01:40 AM EDT

David Sanborn has followed up his terrific Quartette Humaine (2013) with a funky slice of throwaway pop and soul. Not that this, his 25th album as a leader, doesn't have its pleasures. But you'd think his deep, satisfying alto tone would grace less populist fare. Sure, ex-Tower Of Power singer Larry Braggs does the 1972 Al Green version of "Can't Get Next To You" proud and loud (a No. 1 for the Temptations in 1969). Plus, Randy Crawford absolutely nails the Dusty Springfield version of "Windmills Of Your Mind" from the 1968 original and 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.

Still, most of Time Of The River has that dentist office waiting room feel.

The other highlight is the gorgeous closer, an alto/piano duet on David Amram's "Overture" to the film The Manchurian Candidate. Wouldst that sense of serenity appear elsewhere, but no. Miller's kitchen-sink production leaves little to the imagination, as his own bass pops with vigor underneath keyboards, Hammond B-3 organ, two guitars, horns, flute, drums and startlingly upfront extra percussion. Sanborn hasn't really messed with percussion since the death of his longtime main man Don Alias in 2006, but here, the smacks, whacks, breaks and Latin-styled claves come courtesy of the exciting Javier Diaz.

But no, Sanborn never stops!

He weaves his web of intrigue throughout, even when he's not soloing. "Normally," he says, "I don't like to wear out my welcome." Not so here. He doesn't step back when he's supposed to. Ever. Even on the solos of others. Sure, it's his session, but, truth be told, it's distracting.

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TagsREVIEW, David Sanborn, Time and The River, Okeh Records

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