David Sanborn’s latest 9-song collection was produced by Marcus Miller and features two of the alto saxophonist’s own compositions: With “Drift”, he wanted to show respect for the work of D’Angelo whose output he admires. The result is a lush, soulful number with great 70s keyboard sounds by Roy Assaf and the lyrical wailing of the leader. He sees himself as a singer on the saxophone. This is the best example here. “Ordinary People”, the second one, is also crying out for lyrics. Marcus Miller‘s voluptuous production work is most effective on this sweltering mid-tempo groove.
But still he asked for help of two singers for this project: Larry Braggs on the Barrett Strong/Norman Whitfield song “Can’t Get Next To You” with its Blues/Rock elements is not for me. The Michel Legrand/Alan & Marilyn Bergman classic “Windmills Of Your Mind” is done here by the ever so soulful Randy Crawford exuding strength and sass on a percussive cover. It also features the wonderful guitarist Yotam Silberstein.
There are two compositions here by the French singer/songwriter Alice Soyer: “Oublie Moi” has some screeching sax playing and the opener, “A La Verticale”, is typical Sanborn Jazz/R&B/Fusion fare offering a catchy melody and again, sizzling percussion work courtesy of Javier Diaz and intensive drum parts from Marcus Baylor.
The only Marcus Miller song on the album is a feisty “Seven Days Seven Nights” and is clearly the catchiest song on offer, again with great keys and percussion, the combination of Assaf and Diaz/Baylor seems to be the common thread here, the basis of all songs.
And speaking of D’Angelo, there is a cover version of his “Spanish Joint” from the “Voodoo” album, funky and lively as the original with crisp horn work by Justin Mullens and Tim Vaughn. The “Overture” from “The Manchurian Candidate”, written by David Amram, closes the album with just the leader and Roy Assaf on piano in melancholy mood. The title for the album derives from the fact that the Sanborns are now living north of New York on the shores of the Hudson River. The three vertical lines on the cover symbolize the Japanese symbol for river.