David Sanborn Quartet at the State Theatre
David Sanborn and crew played their version of jazz at the State Theatre last night to a packed house of older folks. Sanborn, on alto saxophone, was backed by keyboards, a drummer, and the famous Joey DeFrancesco on the B-3 organ. The whole evening he had the crowd, the median age of which was easily 55, clapping their hands and snapping their fingers in time with the music. Personally however, while I am an avid fan of jazz music, I am not a fan of his type of jazz music. Sanborn’s music is usually categorized as smooth jazz. I don’t think that’s a very fair classification. For those unfamiliar, smooth jazz is a genre dominated by the infamous Kenny G. Having taken MUSIC 007, the Evolution of Jazz, with the great Dan Yoder, I learned that this is the lowest genre of jazz. Sanborn, on the other hand, I would describe as a funkier version of the aforementioned Kenny G. So, a little better, but not much.
Sanborn is touring for his latest album, his 24th, titled “On Everything”, the title track of which is about his first grandchild, Genevieve. In addition to songs from that album, he played many others including the popular standard “Let the Good Times Roll”. That was probably the group’s best song of the evening. Sanborn filled the breaks between songs with stories about his new granddaughter. He complimented the State Theatre, noting that he had never been to State College before, unless he was here in the 70s, because, he joked, no one remembers the 70s. Humor aside, musically, the night was dominated musically by Joey DeFrancesco. The organist Sanborn called the “Philosopher of Funk” soloed throughout the night and was immensely more creative and entertaining than Sanborn himself. There was a reason the show was billed as “Featuring Joey DeFrancesco”. Sanborn’s solos were short and predictable, and he had a habit of continuing playing after the band had stopped, almost as if he needed to have the last word. That being said, Sanborn has clearly been doing something right throughout his career, having garnered six Grammy Awards. But, if Taylor Swift can win over Gaga, then maybe that’s not such a big deal either.
Sanborn’s next stop is the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel tomorrow if you want to see how your impressions match up to my review. Additionally, if you are interested in jazz music, WPSU has a jazz show Fridays from 9-11 pm. One of the hosts of the show attended the Sanborn concert and is interested in local feedback about her jazz programming and any requests you may have. She goes by the name of Rain and will be broadcasting next on February 12th. Her email address can be found here.
Photographer: Stefan Choquette, Onward State Editor of Photography || [email protected]