David Sanchez - Carib

Label: Ropeadope, 2019

Personnel - David Sanchez: tenor saxophone, barril de bomba, percussion, vocals; Lage Lund: guitar; Luis Perdomo: piano, rhodes, vocals; Ricky Rodriguez: bass; Obed Calvaire: drums, vocals; Jhan Lee Ponte: percussion, barril de bomba; Markus Schwartz: Haitian percussion.


Grammy-winning saxophonist David Sanchez, formerly associate with Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra and a member of the SFJazz Collective since 2012, is among the best practitioners of the modern Latin jazz. His new outing, aptly named Carib, unknots a hiatus of eight years as a bandleader and consolidates zealous post-bop and Afro-Caribbean idioms and rhythms with particular incidence in Haiti and his native Puerto Rico. With it, he not only intends to pay tribute to all Afro descendent communities that have helped him defining his music, but also call the world’s attention to the marginalization and poor sociological conditions of these countries. The present recording is in memory of his father and his late wife.

Equipping the eleven original tunes with rhythmic illusion and surging solos, Sanchez trusts a set of first-rate musicians to deliver them as he envisioned. They are Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, who doubles on the Fender Rhodes, Norwegian guitarist Lage Lund, fellow Puerto Rican bassist Ricky Rodriguez, Miami-born drummer Obed Calvaire, and percussionists Jhan Lee Aponte and Markus Schwartz.

This heartfelt tribute to the African diaspora throughout the Americas begins with “Morning Mist”, one of the most vibrant and intelligently composed pieces on the record. It consists of sharp rhythmic articulations subjected to shifts along the way, harmonic riches, and cleanly stated solos by Sanchez and Perdomo. A pre-conclusion vamp gives Calvaire permission to expand actions, which he does even better on “Mirage”, a Metheny-esque crossover in seven where Perdomo underlines the harmony on the Fender Rhodes, and Lund brings out his jazz phraseology at his own pace.

No less candid in its amiable expression, “Wave Under Silk” floats like a gentle breeze with a nice percussion touch. When not infusing passionate flames on the tenor, Sanchez adds barril de bomba (a traditional Puerto Rican drum) to the percussionists’ work.

The numbers “Madriga” and “The Land of Hills” are kept under strong percussive dynamics. Both tunes groove with a splash of funk in the electric bass, complementing the world fusion foray with Afro-Latin chants in the case of the former, and warm riffs and unisons in the case of the latter. The energy of the band is palpable.

In an uncomplicated setting, “Fernando’s Theme” offers up ancient traditions with a static ritualistic vibe, while “Canto” feels like a long meditation with a predilection for tender sounds. Both pieces were featured on the drama film Windows of the World.

The polyrhythmic “A Thousand Yesterdays” concludes the journey with optimism and freedom. Where Sanchez moves artfully between ideas translated into crisp, commanding phrases, Perdomo contributes plenty of lyricism within the swinging motions he dives into.

Sanchez’s heritage and roots meld perfectly with contemporary jazz. Hence, if you dig color, texture, and rhythm, this is a disc you should search for.

Grade  B+

Grade B+

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Morning Mist ► 03 - Madriga ► 08 - The Land of Hills