1988 Reprise Records
In 1988, David Sanborn released Close-Up at the height of his career. This CD was one of the many that featured the pairing of Sanborn with bass player and producer Marcus Miller. As well as being the album's producer, Marcus Miller wrote or co-wrote many of the songs and plays on every track on this CD.
In addition to Marcus Miller, Sanborn employs an A-list of musical talent to back him on this project. The roster includes Hiram Bullock, G.E. Smith (SNL Band), Paul Jackson, Jr., and Nile Rodgers (Chic) on guitars, longtime band member Ricky Peterson on keys, Vinnie Colauita on drums, and Paulinho da Costa and Don Alias (another longtime band member) on percussion.
The CD begins with the ultra-funky hit, “Slam,” with Sanborn playing very powerfully on the alto sax. It continues with a nod to his friend, singer/songwriter James Taylor, with the song “J.T.” What follows are two very strong and emotionally played performances, which rank as two of my favorites on this album, “Lesley Anne,” and “Goodbye.” At 2:17, the Randy Newman song, “Same Girl,” almost plays like an introduction to the next song, “Pyramid.” “Pyramid” brings the funk back up front, while “Tough” keeps it going. “So Far Away” finds Sanborn mellowing out a bit with his alto. He next covers the old Stylistics classic, “You Are Everything,” and then closes the album with the very popular “Camel Island,” which continues to be a crowd favorite during his live show. This song provides the rare opportunity to hear not one, but two percussion masters at work. Both Paulinho da Costa and Don Alias are credited on this tune and get a long solo to demonstrate their skills.
Of the many David Sanborn/Marcus Miller collaborations, this is one of my favorites and continues to make semi-regular appearances in my CD rotation. I am not alone in my appreciation for this CD. In the year of its release, Close-Up won David Sanborn the 5 th of his six Grammies, this one for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. It also held the #1 spot as Billboards Top Contemporary Jazz Album that year.
- Mary Bentley