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Closer
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
(4 & 1/2 stars) Midway through the opening cut on David Sanborn's new CD Closer, a snazzy uptempo number called "Tin Tin Deo," there comes a frisky, poppin' percussion break. The great Mike Mainieri is on vibes, with Luis Quintero on percussion. It's a hot little moment that's an indicator of good things to come, a very accurate indicator of the high quality of music on Closer, as it turns out. However, the brisk pace of "Tin Tin Deo" is not representative of the majority of the remaining songs, as David takes a subtler, lower key approach to the tunes. Typical is a lush Sanborn original, "Another Time, Another Place," where his sax sings and sighs against a velvety backdrop of keyboards and rhythm section. With an occasional exception like a lively cover of Abdullah Ibrahim's "Capetown Fringe," most of the songs on Closer are in a blue mood, but one that's deliciously blue. One of the most interesting songs on the CD is a version of James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," with Lizz Wright doing an excellent job on the vocals. (It's the album's lone vocal cut). The original Taylor song featured an integral sax solo by Michael Brecker, not David Sanborn, although Mr. S. did play on several other JT songs, including "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)." Anyway, Sanborn and Wright do the beautiful, sad song proud. I'm sure Taylor loved this version if he's heard it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2005
Format: Audio CD
A real gem this disc. To my ears, the words `control, lyricism and splendor' speak out of this work. A delightful record, Sanborn's constraint shines through. Without doubt, David Sanborn's best recording yet. Not perhaps music for the die-hard avant garde lovers, but in its own way a veritable wall of luxurious and wonderful sounds. Christian McBride keeps it all together and the guitar punctuation of Russell Malone keeps it all neat and punchy. Sanborn's reedy tone is an acquired taste, a touch to harsh for me, but it leads where the music has to go. One cannot say enough about Lizz Wright. There are too many adjectives to do justice to her sound. Again, controlled, but powerful and melodious, she might well be the greatest of all time. I would love to hear a full album of Sanborn and Wright, the support they lend to each other is perfection. One quibble, sound balance is off a tad at times; off enough drown that wondrous voice. Definitely this recording deserves a five star rating.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Closer begins with a lively tune with an unfortunate title; that, however, does not detract from the catchy beat and melody. This number is one that will cause one to hit the repeat button. As for the remainder of the CD, it hums along nicely, following a pattern of predictable, yet enjoyable Sanborn. Track nine is another one that gets under you. I would definitely recommend this as an introduction to David Sanborn or for the loyal fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
David Sanborn was one of the first people I got into when I turned to jazz back in the early 1980s. He was certainly the first alto saxophonist I got to know. He did a lot of stuff with Marcus Miller back then and I used to think he was the bee's knees, but my tastes have matured somewhat since those heady youthful days.

He's dismissed by the hoity-toity brigade as a purveyor of smooth jazz, muzak or elevator music, even as a pop instrumentalist and while I agree that some of his product has been incredibly lightweight at various stages in his career, I've always found something essentially appealing about his music. I remain a loyal fan and though I haven't got all his albums, I still like to check him out from time to time.

This 2005 release is his most recent CD in my collection and, produced by Stewart Levine, it has a nice Latin flavour to it, helped along in the most part by percussionist Luis Quintero. This album is also somewhat unique - at least among my other Sanborn CDs (except, perhaps, for Pearls) - in that there are a lot of standards on it. There are songs from people like Horace Silver ("Señor Blues" & "Enchantment"), Nat Simon & Buddy Bernier ("Poinciana"), Tommy Wolf & Fran Landesman ("Ballad of the Sad Young Men") and Charles (Charlie) Chaplin, Geoffrey Parsons & John Palmer ("Smile"). Then there's the James Taylor classic, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" on which Sanborn is joined by the fabulous Lizz Wright on vocals. This song is the main reason I decided to buy this CD and it's almost worth the price of the CD all on its own.

Other featured musicians include Larry Goldings on electric piano & organ, Gil Goldstein on electric piano & accordion, Mike Mainieri (who I used to love when he was in Steps Ahead with Michael Brecker) on vibraphone, Russell Malone on guitar, (beautiful on "You Must Believe In Spring"), Christian McBride on bass, Steve Gadd on drums and Bob Sheppard on tenor and soprano saxophones.

This is a thoughtful and incredibly beautiful piece of contemporary jazz, well worth a look.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
"Closer" represents one of the most significant works of this first rate sax artist; four brilliant versions of widely known themes make of this album a brilliant and forceful success ; the emblematic "Poinciana" from Puerto Rico, the extraordinary adaptation of Tin t in deo one of the most known pieces of the repertoire of "Chanu" Pozo whose well reminded musical gathering with Dizzy Gillespie produced "Manteca", an essential pivot of the Latin music into the jazz b y then; Michel Legrand is the special guest playing with Sanborn "You must believe in spring" , one of his finest works and finally "Smile" whose author Charles Chaplin will be always kept in mind.

But the album contains another brilliant `pieces such as Señor Blues with the collaboration of Horace Silver; on the other hand, the exquisite voice of Lizz Wright in Don't let be lonely tonight" adds a touch of erotic touch in this fascinating CD. You may include this album as one the ten highest peaks in smooth jazz during 2005.
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on July 14, 2008
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Sanborn seems to be carving out a mellower sound. Even though I miss the effect that Marcus Miller's production work had on his albums, Sanborn's last two are more than solid. His renditions of "Senor Blues" and "Poiciana" are marvelous.
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on October 12, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
WHAT CAN I SAY DAVID AT HIS BEST.ENCHANTMENT LEFT ME WANTING MORE MORE.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I loved this album from beginning to end. I have been a David Sanborn fan since 1989 and I have seen him in concert 8 times. He never ceases to put out beautiful music. I wrote a full song-by-song review of this album. You can find the full review at [...]
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on September 4, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Good smooth jazz
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18 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
. . . or, "Blown Save," depending if you take the title of Sanborn's latest disc to mean "closer," as in "nearer to," or "closer," as in "bringing to completion." Taken in the first sense, Closer is farther away from real jazz than even his last disc, Time Again, which at least sought to approach jazz, and did a halfway decent job of it. Taken in the second sense, Closer does nothing to bring to completion the jazz project. Instead it fails to operate on even the barest minimum of jazz criteria and sensibilities. It reminds me of what my son once said to my wife when asked about a sports score: It's the top of the ninth and the Bears are leading in the Stanley Cup 21 to 3.

If proof were needed, simply listen to any of Sanborn's "solos," and I use the word advisedly. There's about as much invention in them as in another statement from my son: "I invented standing up on swings." Sanborn has simply never acquired a jazz vocabulary, let alone improvisational skills.

Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that. To his credit, Sanborn has often stated that he's not a jazz musician. But then why include half a dozen jazz standards--more than half the selections--in your playlist? And why have your record company print "file under: Jazz" on the jewel box sleeve?

Perhaps not quite in Kenny G territory, but not all that removed from it either. If you want to hear authentic jazz by an alto sax player that's still accessible and contains beautiful music, check out the two discs by Loren Stillman, anything by Jon Gordon, anything by Peter Epstein, Charlie Mariano's Deep in a Dream, or either of Dave Glasser's discs as leader.

A note about Sanborn's tone. I guess he's going for a Hank Crawford-ish soul-jazz vibe, but it just sounds like raucousness without res to me.

If you want soulful-like, mildly jazz-tinged instrumental pop music, then this might work for you. Others will want to avoid.
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