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DAVID SANBORN: THEN AGAIN – THE ANTHOLOGY (RHINO)
2 CD COLLECTION OF SOME OF THE ALTO SAXOPHONIST'S GREATEST WORK
I have a very close affiliation to David Sanborn’s music; well actually one single in particular that dates back to my time as a pirate radio broadcaster in the late-1980s. When I was a rebel of the London airwaves back-in-the-day on LWR, I adopted David’s “Chicago Song”; for two years twice every weekend it would become a staple of my show, and when hearing it again after almost 25 years, the memories come flooding back. But enough about me, what of the uber-talented saxophonist named David Sanborn. Between 1975 and 1999 he record a highly impressive 20 artist albums for Warner Brothers and its associated Elektra and Reprise imprints, picking up six Grammy Awards in the process. And yet this is the first fully expansive and highly definitive collection of his work – if you discount his single disc BEST OF set from 1994.

THEN AGAIN - THE ANTHOLOGY spans 20 years of his illustrious career highlighting 29 tracks lifted from albums that have combined sales of over 6 million worldwide. One of the most lyrical and expressive saxophone players in pop, R&B and jazz realms, Sanborn’s alto work is often imitated but never quite duplicated. Whereas the likes of Kenny G might have gone on to sell more units, fill larger music venues, and I dare say, be played in more elevators, Sanborn’s work has never benefited from a crossover single. Instead he’s built year-on-year on a fan base that appreciates quality jazz-infused musicianship with the occasion vocal interlude. Equally adept at gentle love ballads (“The Dream”, “Lisa” and “Missing You”) as he is with searing funk jams (“Hideaway”, “The Whisperer”, and “Snakes”), it’s this versatility that’s helped make him one of the most successful jazz crossover artists of his generation, seeing his name alongside a diverse array of prestigious names including David Bowie, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, and the Rolling Stones, as well as jazz greats including Bob James, Al Jarreau, Michael Franks and Maynard Ferguson.

Occasionally leftfield – his version of the feel-good Latin romp “Bang Bang” by Joe Cuba is really like nothing else across the two discs, and yet still feels comfortably at home within; it was also one of the few cuts to gain major airplay for the artist. In collaboration with Bob James the two cut the acclaimed DOUBLE VISION opus from which “More Then Friends", “Maputo” and “Since I Feel For You” with Al Jarreau’s distinctive vocals are included herein.

Disc 2 opens with the beautiful “Back Again” with producer Michael Sembello offering a vocal that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Steely Dan album. If you know John Coultrane’s “Naima” you’ll recognize elements of it in the seductive “A Tear For Crystal”, a song Marcus Miller and Sanborn penned in 1983 for BACK STREET; Miller would be a constant throughout much of David’s career and together the two created my own theme tune, “Chicago Song.” On the UK jazz-funk scene David’s best-loved recording became “Let’s Just Say Goodbye”, but don’t discount the equally funky, “Snakes”. Sanborn’s involvement in this release could not have been more prevalent, handpicking each of the songs himself and taking acute care and attention over the order in which they appear. A perfectionist in many walks of life, the sheer quality of Sanborn’s work is encapsulated in this timeless and long overdue release, and while many of the titles might not roll of the tongue, there’s no denying the quality, breadth and obvious skills of his labour – “Goodbye” a casing pint if another reason were ever needed - in cementing his legacy as one of the greatest saxophonists of our time.

8/10

About the Writer
Lewis Dene has been involved in the many facets of music business for over 20 years. As a music journalist he has previously written for Blues & Soul, Record Collector, Music Week and the BBC, in the process compiling and/or writing liner notes for over 200 CDs (including a number for SoulMusic Records). Lewis currently consults for Kings Of Spins and is a resident DJ for Hed Kandi in America.
  
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