(4 / 5)
David Sanborn will be 75-years-old at the end of July. 2020 additionally marks the 45th anniversary of his debut LP as a leader.
In honour of these milestones, SoulMusic Records drops this superb triple-disc set that covers 25 years of his career on three different major labels.
“David Sanborn – Anything You Want: The Warner-Reprise-Elektra Years (1975-1999)” dives into the 17 albums he recorded as a solo artist establishing his legend as one of the world’s most sought-after alto saxophone players for session work with the biggest names on the planet – and in his own right as a solo artists.
There are 46 tracks here, and the set is produced by L.A.-based musicologist A. Scott Galloway with co-production by David Nathan.
The package explores David Sanborn’s catalogue via cherry-picked radio edits, rare mixes, live versions and overlooked album cuts. Each of the three discs covers a specific aspect of Sanborn’s musical skills, offering a variety of styles.
Disc 1: “New York Dave & The Cali-Crossover Express”. Exploring the Florida-native’s early experimental years. This disc features the only song he ever sang lead on, his first solo compositions, a co-write with Michael McDonald and a song arranged by mentor Gil Evans. Plus hits such as Michael Sembello’s “The Dream’, “Lesley Anne” and”As We Speak”.
There’s Leon Russell, James Taylor, Paul Simon and Carly Simon covers and an orchestral rendition of the folk song “The Water is Wide”, featuring Linda Ronstadt.
Disc 2: “Sanborn: Soul Man”, showcases David at his soulful, funky best on jams such as a sizzling live cover of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness”, featuring former Average White Band member Hamish Stuart on vocals. There’s Sanborn’s take on Gladys Knight and The Pips’, “Neither One of U”,’ featuring Luther Vandross as a background singer.
We also get a rare hip hop remix of his version of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up” and the digital debut of the dance mix of ‘Believer”.
Disc 3: ” Evening Ember Evocations”, is a mix of Sanborn’s blues, jazz, quiet storm and ‘avant-garde’ leanings. There’s lovely interpretations of songs by Lou Reed, Aretha Franklin, Randy Newman, Sade and Wayne Shorter.
The set comes complete with track-by-track credits detailing all the A-list musicians and singers, and an in-depth essay by A. Scott Galloway with input from Mr Sanborn himself., and from collaborator Marcus Miller, producers Hal Willner and Robert Margouleff, plus peers Randy Brecker, Steve Khan, Hamish Stuart and Ronnie Foster.
This superstar sax’ man started out a a blues sideman at just 14-years-old. Wind forward a few years and David’s unmistakable sound and gifts were in-demand for recording sessions with a who’s who of music stars; too numerous to list in full here.
But they include Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Donny Hathaway, Chaka Khan, The Temptations, Jaco Pastorius, Kenny Loggins, Todd Rundgren, Esther Phillips and Bob James.
Sanborn’s efforts have notched up eight Gold records and a platinum-seller for his solo records, six Grammy awards and he has topped many international critics and readers polls.
Living legend is not an OTT description for this guy, and this wonderful triple disc set is a fitting tribute to a musician who has added huge value to many major artist’s records.
Emulated by many and a big influence to countless sax’ players around the globe for decades. A good reason for that, and you can hear why across this essential listen.
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’