Musicians James, Sanborn hitting the road together for first time
Bob James says he and David Sanborn are not on a “crusade,” but both insist their current tour is making a statement about their musical direction.
Keyboardist/arranger James sounds proud when he talks about how this series of shows is taking them into clubs they might have been unable to visit during their pop-jazz days.
Alto sax star Sanborn is equally happy talking about the success of the tour and its “no-risk, no-reward” challenges.
They will bring that show to the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, North Side, on Oct. 25, part of a swing that has seen them in clubs and festivals in the United States and Europe.
The tour is in support of their new album, “Quartet Humaine,” which is a long-awaited followup to their Grammy award-nominated “Double Vision” from 1986. The tour also puts them on the road together for the first time, even with the popularity of “Double Vision.”
“Back then, we were just so busy with what we were doing, we didn't hit the road after it,” says Sanborn, 68. “I think we were surprised what a hit it was.”
James agrees their careers in the mid-'80s made it tough to put a tour together. Sanborn was on the road steadily at that time with a band that filled halls like the Stanley Theater, now known as the Benedum Center, Downtown.
At the same time, James was doing a great deal of work composing, arranging and putting successful albums together.
But, he says, when they started planning “Quartet Humaine,” live performances were planned “even before we finished recording.”
They both are enjoying their days on the road.
“David and I challenge each other every night,” James says of their play.
Sanborn says James “is a great support player and a great soloist.”
While the tour represents a change in their business thinking, the performances — and the album — represent a change in their playing and musical direction. “Double Vision” was a heavily produced album with a smooth/funk style. “Quartet Humaine” is an all-acoustic outing with James and Sanborn being joined by drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus.
James, 73, says when they started discussing what to do, they suddenly realized their instrumentation was the same as the classic Dave Brubeck Quartet.
“Not that we are doing the same sort of music as Brubeck, but it means what the music represents is fresh and different for us,” he says.
He and Sanborn wanted to stay away from any “Double Vision” pop approach because “you can't go back,” James says.
They do some of the hits from “Double Vision” in these concerts, Sanborn says, but they do them in an acoustic setting and “really open them up.”
Both admit having some trepidation with some of the stops on the tour. Sanborn says they were cautious about playing at places focused on “contemporary jazz” where audiences might want “Double Vision”-like tunes.
But he and James agree the reaction — even in those venues — has been positive.
“It is almost like they have discovered they want something more than party music,” James says.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo gallery: Jack White takes crowd at Pittsburgh’s Stage AE by storm
- Review: New Music Ensemble presents 23 short pieces
- Moondog’s owner the force behind Pittsburgh Blues Festival
- Review: Buffett keeps faith with fans on ‘This One’s for You’ tour
- Country star Aldean still brings the heat at soggy PNC Park show
- Review: Opera Theater Summerfest concert fitting honor for founder
- Jason Aldean headlines big country show at PNC Park
- Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble letting music speak for itself
- Natrona Heights musician Podrasky hopes time is right for his ‘Plans’
- Pop star Katy Perry’s chart-topping style heavy on fireworks, elaborate costumes
- McCartney delivers another stirring performance in return to Consol