My musical easy button...Having grown up listening to both Bob James and David Sanborn, I can say without hesitation that I may be a tad biased but when you are lucky enough to have your musical horizons broadened thanks to the ever evolving talent of Bob James then life is indeed good. Earlier this year Bob James was kind enough to field some questions for this site and with that came the best reminder a critic or a musician could ever hope for...Always be open to new ideas and new ways for expressing your artistic voice.
Aside from the equally talented David Sanborn, the addition of James Genus on bass is nothing short of a stroke of pure musical genius. Genus quietly goes about his craft with the precision and flair that make some draw comparisons to Christian McBride. While artistic comparisons are inherently unfair to all parties it is safe to say that James Genus is on equal footing with any acoustic bassist and paired with legendary drummer Steve Gadd (Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Steely Dan and Chick Corea) you have a formidable rhythm section with unlimited musicality and the perfect harmonic base from which James & Sanborn can work without a net.
The conceptual basis for this stellar offering is two fold. Bob James has the same innate gift that the great Dave Brubeck has for establishing an emotional connectivity with the audience and musicians involved in this session while David Sanborn assumes the Paul Desmond role while channelling his inner Hank Crawford and David "Fathead" Newman for that lyrical intensity that inspired the young Sanborn while growing up in St. Louis. Quartette Humaine is the first full fledged reunion since the 1986 platinum selling, Grammy Award winning release, Double Vision.
James & Sanborn contribute seven original compositions out of the nine tunes listed with two covers arranged by James. A review in the traditional sense does not seem to work here. For those with more contemporary tastes consider this the acoustic flip side to Double Vision. If the straight ahead vibe is your wheelhouse then you may be hard pressed to find a better recording this year.
Bob James & David Sanborn's Quartette Humaine is a celebration of great American music from two of the most influential figures across any genre of the music business today.
Perfection on a shiny silver disc.
Tracks: You Better Not Go To College; Geste Humain; Sofia; Follow Me; My Old Flame; Another Time, Another Place; Montezuma; Genevieve; Deep In The Weeds.
Personnel: Bob James: piano; David Sanborn: alto and soprano, sopranino saxophones; Steve Gadd: drums; James Genus: bass; Javier Diaz: percussion on "Deep In The Weeds".
Photo courtesy of media page at www.bobjames.com
You can also check out www.davidsanborn.com
Look for Bob James and David Sanborn to be touring across the United States this summer with dates including the Playboy Jazz Festival on June 16th in Los Angeles and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland on July 16th.