David Sanborn has put a lot of miles on his trusty saxophone since the release of his first album in 1975. Now at age 64, with millions of albums sold and multiple Grammy Awards in hand, he has returned with his 25th studio album.
Only Everything, which will be released January 26, features Joey DeFrancesco on the Hammond B3 organ and drummer Steve Gadd on all eight tracks. Five tracks feature a brass section composed of tenor sax man Bob Malach, baritone sax player Frank Basile, trumpeter Tony Kadleck, and bass trombone player Mike Davis.
It is DeFrancesco’s organ work which lays the foundation for Sanborn’s saxophone improvisations. His sound is the instrumental constant and he proves to be a master technician who is the equal of Sanborn.
The sound is typical Sanborn, that of a modern jazz musician who explores pop, soul, rock, and rhythm & blues within that context.
The first three songs establish the rhythms and textures of the album. “The Peeper” is an old tune by Hank Crawford, who exerted a powerful influence upon Sanborn's playing style and career. The brass gives the track a joyful big band feel. “Hard Times,” written by the legendary Ray Charles, also benefits from the use of brass. “Only Everything (for Genevieve),” which was written for his granddaughter, has more of an old style jazz sound as Sanborn improvises notes and runs for eight minutes.
Two tracks contain guest vocalists. Joss Stone is featured on the old standard “Let The Good Times Roll.” She delivers a soulful and sensuous performance which takes his music in a different and interesting direction. Likewise James Taylor’s smooth voice provides a wonderful counterpoint for the old Ray Charles classic “Hallelujah, I Love Her So.”
Sanborn uses Miles Davis’ take of “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home” as a taking off point, adding brass that provides support for his eight minutes of sax explorations. The old Johnny Mercer blues ballad “Blues In The Night” and the stripped-down-to-basics “You’ve Changed” bring the album to a satisfying conclusion.
David Sanborn takes a few more chances than usual on this album, which is nice to see after 25 releases. Only Everything should please his legions of fans and possibly earn him a few new ones as well.