Two sides of Sanborn here 15 years apart. While his sound is always immediately identifiable, the later Another Hand (1991) is the darker of the two, as introverted as the saxophonist is likely to ever become. If you listen to him these days for instance on last year’s excellent Quartette Humaine, ostensibly a tribute to Dave Brubeck, in duo with Bob James, you’ll find another side to his musical personality.
Sanborn (1976) comes stocked with pop-jazz numbers, the lovely ‘Smile’ featuring a chorus of voices including Paul Simon and Pheobe Snow’s one of the picks. Heartfelt and emotional it’s, as ever with Sanborn, verging on smooth jazz, the sugary instrumental version of Paul Simon’s ‘I Do It For Your Love’ a song that appeared on Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years and which Sanborn also appears on the year before lacks the “sting of reason/The splash of tears” the song’s lyrics demand. Yet the album is redeemed mainly by the sheer personality Sanborn brings with his outrageously soulful sound powered by Victor Lewis on drums, Jumma Santos’ percussion, and Herb Bushier’s funky electric bass, with Hiram Bullock on guitar, and Rosalinda de Leon keyboards.
While Sanborn is something of a sugary snack Another Hand with Charlie Haden, Marcus Miller, Greg Cohen sharing the double/electric bass duties, Jack DeJohnette, Joey Baron, and Steve Jordan the drums with guitarist Bill Frisell and pianist Mulgrew Miller among the players, is the much more serious, contemplative even of these two albums reissued in the budget 1000 Yen series in the UK for the first time. ‘Come to me Nina’ on Another Hand for instance has real depth and that’s something that characterises a fine album. SG