Esta página no está disponible en español.

Contra Costa Times


David Sanchez Expands With Four Instead Of Six


December 14, 2001
Copyright © 2001
Contra Costa Times. All Rights Reserved.

It's unlikely that David Sanchez was trying to prove an aesthetic principle at Yoshi's on Tuesday, but the Puerto Rican tenor saxophonist gave a convincing demonstration of why less is often more in jazz.

In his recent Bay Area appearances, S nchez has performed with a sextet, an excellent young group featuring alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, bassist Hans Glawischnig, drummer Antonio Sanchez, percussionist Pernell Saturnino and pianist Edsel Gomez. But even a high-profile musician with major-label backing can have trouble keeping a band together. For Sanchez's six-night run in Oakland he arrived sans piano and percussion, and in the stripped-down context of a quartet, Sanchez sounded better than ever.

Without Saturnino and Gomez, the band largely eschewed the Afro-Caribbean rhythms that once helped define its sound. What Sanchez gains is a tremendous sense of space. Making its debut as a quartet, the band embraced the harmonic freedom, creating a discursive, uncluttered approach that encouraged each player to stretch out. But instead of stringing together solos, the practice of far too many jazz combos, the group turned each piece into a series of fluid dialogues, so that except for an occasional introduction, no musician played alone for long.

Sanchez kicked off the set with a swift version of Wayne Shorter's moody "Prince of Darkness," which is also the opening track of his excellent new Columbia album "Traves a." On Sanchez's extended piece "Paz Pa Vieques " ("Peace for Vieques "), the two saxophonists opened and closed the tune by playing interlocking lines, and provided short riffs pungent from the sidelines during a long bass/drums duet.

With his slightly dry, buoyant alto sound and on-the-beat attack, Zenon is a highly effective foil for S nchez, but the set's high point was a trio version of Brazilian composer Edu Lobo's sumptuously mournful "Pra Dizer Adeus." Sanchez introduced the melody a cappella, but was soon joined by Glawischnig's deft arco bass work and Antonio Sanchez's stately mallet accents. Possessing one of the most beautiful tenor sounds in jazz, Sanchez rendered the melody with naked romanticism, capturing the tune's bittersweet spirit with his silk-pillow tone, sleek and soft but tensile-tough.

Sanchez closed the set with a breathtaking medley of "Cancion del Canaveral" ("Song of the Sugar Cane Fields") and "Puerto San Juan," both from last year's "Melaza" album. After the lovely opening melody, the piece accelerated into a jagged Ornette Coleman-ish line, with the two horns chasing each other as if tumbling uphill. It was an exhilarating end to a bracing set by one of jazz's leading lights, a musician who can turn the loss of a third of his band into a creative triumph.

Self-Determination Legislation | Puerto Rico Herald Home
Newsstand | Puerto Rico | U.S. Government | Archives
Search | Mailing List | Contact Us | Feedback