Monday, September 06, 2010

Antonio Sanchez - All About Jazz

Live in New York at Jazz Standard
Antonio Sanchez (CAMJazz)

When seated behind the drums Antonio Sanchez
takes on an intense command of every sixteenth note
that swings through his wrists, navigating an
unwavering groove through myriad twists and turns.
In just under two hours, Live in New York at Jazz
Standard thunders across two discs and eight tunes
with pinpoint precision and a white-knuckle pace.
Aided by bassist Scott Colley and saxophonists David
Sanchez (tenor) and Miguel Zenon (alto), the album
was recorded at the end of a tour nearly two years ago.

The quartet, free of the chordal restrictions of
piano or guitar, is an extremely tight ensemble, like a
flock of birds jutting out in one direction before
instinctively turning into a driving pulse, seemingly
unannounced but without any member missing a cue.
The album opens with the saxophonists locked in tight
harmony, jumping around the spastic intervals of
Sanchez’ “Greedy Silence”. After a simultaneous horn
duel each launches into the stratosphere. Sanchez’
“Ballade” plays the horns off of each other in gentle
swoops while brushes spaciously crash across the
drumkit. The second disc, equally lithe and
propulsive, highlights more of Sanchez’ compositional
talents, opening with the heavy funk of “It Will Be
Better” and closing with “Challenge Within”, a
cowbell-driven smattering of polyrhythms that is
feverishly complex yet melodic.

Throughout the record Sanchez is masterfully
supportive, drifting into avant garde realms without
losing sight of the pulse. What space is left by the hardhitting
saxophonists and Colley’s hyper-kinetic
walking, if not running, is filled by Sanchez’ busy
hands and feet, sounding at times like two or three
drummers. Sanchez’ exuberance can be a little
exhausting at times but the record provides enough
room for the listener to breath before ripping into
another fast-paced exploration. This is music that
demands attention and rewards the listener with
astounding moments of interaction and trust.

Antonio Sanchez @ All About Jazz - New York

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