David Sanchez Quintet | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

David Sanchez Quintet 


The saxophonist David Sanchez makes the most persuasive case for multiculturalism you'll hear this year. (When you consider that jazz itself--by seeking and adapting new and disparate influences--is the most multicultural of musics, Sanchez's case becomes all the stronger.) Even among the horde of practiced and powerful young saxophonists on the scene, Sanchez stands out for reasons that have much to do with his Puerto Rican roots and his command of a broad range of Afro-Caribbean music; listening to the evidence, you can hardly deny the fluidity or impact of this influence. Neither can you dispute his professional heritage. Tellingly, Sanchez made his earliest recordings in the United Nation Orchestra, led by Dizzy Gillespie and with Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, both of whom, like Sanchez, split their attention between mainstream bebop and the rhythms of the Antilles. Yet the special gift of Sanchez--and of Danilo Perez, the Dominican-born pianist who frequently works with him--is the ability to render this split invisible. For Sanchez, both the straight-four beat of jazz and the scintillating subdivisions of Latin rhythms offer the chance to display his genre-busting expertise; utterly at home in each camp, he can straddle the line between them much more subtly than most of his predecessors. In the tunes on his excellent new album (Street Scenes, Columbia), Sanchez's big-eared flexibility and our constantly shrinking hemisphere are central considerations. Very pointedly, Sanchez borrows rhythmic flavors from Brazil and New Orleans as well as Puerto Rico and Cuba, but his keen improvisatory sense, which accounts for solos of dramatic pull and exciting technique, leaves no doubt as to the resulting music's jazz heritage. Equal opportunity Americanism--North, South, and Central--also works well for Sanchez's quintet, which includes John Benitez on bass and the delightfully inventive percussionist Richie Flores. Friday and Saturday, 9 and 11 PM, and Sunday, 4, 8, and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand; 670-2473.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Marc PoKempner.

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