Search - David Sanchez :: Melaza

David Sanchez
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Latin Music
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1

The sparkling Puerto Rican saxist David Sanchez wields a saxophone style to rival that of any modern player, but he deserves attention for reasons having little to do with technique. Utterly comfortable with both hard-bop ...  more »


Larger Image
Listen to Samples

CD Details

All Artists: David Sanchez
Title: Melaza
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 8/8/2000
Release Date: 8/8/2000
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Latin Music
Styles: Latin Jazz, Latin Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 074646208526, 5099706208525

The sparkling Puerto Rican saxist David Sanchez wields a saxophone style to rival that of any modern player, but he deserves attention for reasons having little to do with technique. Utterly comfortable with both hard-bop jazz and the Afro-Latin rhythms of the Caribbean, Sanchez--like Dizzy Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval (two of his first employers) and pianist Danilo Perez (a frequent collaborator)--blends the two traditions like a musical Cuisinart. What's more, with each album he digs deeper in exploring not only his roots, but also this panoramic fusion. On the Grammy-nominated Obsesión, Sanchez engaged a string orchestra for a program of material by Latin and South American composers. On Melaza, he concentrates on the broad range of folkloric rhythms of Puerto Rico, using them to energize new jazz compositions and thus introducing such beats as the bomba and the plaintive plena. The name of the album refers to the sociopolitical history of Puerto Rico and its African immigrants. Melaza in English means "molasses," and Sanchez means to draw analogies between black workers' efforts in harvesting sugar cane and the process of making music: in both cases, he writes, "you work very hard and sacrifice a lot for something that surprises you as a sweet, rich result." That imagery applies splendidly to this, the most exciting of the five albums under his name--and thus the most faithful to his inspiring live performances. Much of the magic results from the addition of a second horn, a piquant alto saxist going by the name Zenon, which allows Sanchez to expand the harmonies and colors of his compositions. The second horn also provides a different voice behind which Sanchez's scintillating rhythm section (starring longtime associates Edsel Gomez on piano and Adam Cruz on drums) can rally in accompaniment. The album also attests to a growing finesse on the part of producer Branford Marsalis, who guests on a couple of tracks but mainly has contented himself with keeping the entire project on target. Together, he and Sanchez prove that Melaza is not just for dessert anymore. --Neil Tesser

Similarly Requested CDs


CD Reviews

David Sanchez - Destined for greatness!
Thomas Pena | Brooklyn, NY USA | 08/19/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The very talented Mr. David Sanchez described his music this way in an interview with "Latin Beat Magazine." " A Jazz oriented musical interpretation of the music of Latin America today, of course, with the main emphasis being on music of the Caribbean but not necessarily always based on the percussion sounds of the Caribbean rhythms. Percussion sounds are colors in my music, the rhythmic drive of my music goes beyond the normal Afro-Caribbean or Afro-Cuban tendencies which the majority of Latin jazz bands play..." Simply put, I like to think of David Sanchez' music as a blend of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and Bebop taken to the highest degree. At times it is like hearing Coltrane playing riffs over Bomba and Plena rhythms! At 31, saxophonist David Sanchez has set himself apart from the average Latin Jazz band and is setting new standards and breaking new ground with every recording. On MELAZA David comes out swinging with folkloric rhythms and progressive jazz licks that will amaze and astound. This is a departure from his last recording, OBSESION (Latin American, Brazilian and Caribbean standards with strings) and the next best thing to hearing David and his band in person. Also, the majority of the compositions are originals, composed by members of the band. I have followed David's career from his days with "Charlie Sepulveda and the Turnaround" and have watched him grow by leaps and bounds. The blend of raw talent and maturity that David displays is a rare thing to behold. In my opinion, David is destined to go down in history as one of the great saxophone players of his time. Check out MELAZA. It is unique, explosive, tender, funky Latin yet straight ahead Jazz. It David Sanchez doing what he does best."
Subversive Latin jazz draws on Afro-Caribbean music
Greg Pappas | austin, texas United States | 08/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This time David Sánchez shows that he is not only one of the best jazz saxophone players but that he is a brilliant composer and bandleader. He has even taken the chair of co-producer with Branford Marsalis. Sánchez is joined by a group of excellent young musicians dedicated to "opening ears" by making "subversive" Latin jazz that draws on unorthodox Afro-Caribbean musical traditions with unusual subtlety and mastery of jazz. "Puerto San Juan" is a plena-jazz with Hector "Tito" Matos making a guest appearance with the panderos (hand instrument use in Plena). This cut will remind you of the way David transformed "Lamento Borincano" on Obsesión but now the changes are more intricate and subtle. Aggressive jazz improvisation and melodically urgent compositions drive this disc. "Canto A Loiza" is anchored by a very simple but hypnotic melody and bass line that all soloists begin and return to. "Against our will" is based on the unusual groove made by the sound of the bass rubbing up against the udu drum. "El Ogro" and "Centinela" are bomba-jazz, with all the intensity that the bomba can bring to a jazz composition. For these the group invited Afro-Rican William Cepeda to help with the bomba barrels. The percussionists provide multiple rhythmic layers that never overwhelm the ensemble sound. Some of David's solos are just too much for a human being to follow without feeling exhausted yet content to be alive. The level of sheer togetherness in this group is obvious. With two sax players (and in one case three, with Branford Marsalis) there is fuller sound. It is too bad that the other genius in this group, Edsel Gomez, did not have more room to stretch out, but his presence is felt throughout. It is fair to say that on this CD David falls more on the jazz side than on the Latin, however, there is something new here. The bomba and plena rhythms have become more internal/integral to the jazz so that they do not have to be made so explicit. We are speaking of the same sort of internalization that makes it possible now for a Latin jazz band not to have conga, bongos, timbales, or claves. Don't get me wrong. By internalization I don't mean "hiding" or "suppressing". On the contrary, it is transforming the jazz "from within". This is what I think musicians like El Negro, Danilo, Chucho, Cepeda, and David (among many others) are doing by venturing more fully into the jazz territory. What may seem like "selling out" from the point of view of mainstream Latin jazz is actually subversive stuff. It is like a Spanish speaking person trying to become a master in the English language in order to change it. This is finely crafted but driving stuff that is not going to be very accessible, especially to either a jazz or a Latin jazz listener that wants immediate familiarity or has no patience. It is the sort of CD that you know the more you listen to it different things will "pull you in". On my second listening some of the beautiful melodies became clear and stable allowing me to notice the rhythmic accents and group dynamics. The CD as a whole is like good rum: it is demanding. It demands that you take your time and sip it slowly if you are going to appreciate it and notice what makes it different from most. By Gregory Pappas"
A knockout
Pamela | Minneapolis, MN USA | 04/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I recently saw David Sanchez and his quintet live (two nights in a row) and immediately bought this album. It's already one of my favorites. Sanchez has assembled an amazing group of musicians: Miguel Zenon (from Puerto Rico) on alto sax, Edsel Gomez (also Puerto Rican) on piano, Antonio Sanchez (from Mexico City) on drums, Pernell Saturnino (from Curacao) on what the album notes call "minor percussion" (though it's anything but), and Hans Glawischnig (Austrian-American) on bass. The blend of two saxes--Sanchez's tenor (and occasional soprano) and Zenon's alto--is thrilling. Any one of these musicians could easily be a soloist in his own right. Branford Marsalis co-produced this album with Sanchez and appears on one track ("Cancion del Canaveral"), but his star power isn't needed to make "Melaza" a keeper. If you enjoy hot Latin rhythms (who doesn't?) blended with more traditional jazz influences, and a band capable of both fireworks and lyricism, check it out. And be sure to see Sanchez if he comes to your town."