David Sanborn – Only Everything (with Joey Defrancesco, Steve Gadd, James Taylor, Joss Stone) – Decca B0013778-02 *****:
This is saxist Sanborn’s second album inspired by the aesthetic of the late Ray Charles – his first was Here and Gone. When asked what Ray Charles meant to his artistic career, Sanborn replied “Only everything” – that became the title of this CD. In it the saxist gets away from his more pop and jazz/classical work to revel in rhythm n’ blues Ray Charles style.
He penned the title tune, on which he is joined by B3-ist Defrancesco and drummer Steve Gadd. It’s a ballad, and dedicated to Sanborn’s first grandchild, with a great B3 solo by Defrancesco. Many of the other seven tracks benefit from arrangements by Gil Goldstein. Vocalist Joss Stone has a swinging time with Let the Good Times Roll. Hallelujah, I Love Her So is the one Ray Charles song, and it goes to James Taylor for a different but every effective version of the tune. Charles’ saxist Hank Crawford is honored with the opening track, The Peeper, which was his signature tune. The closer is a blues-soaked version of Harold Arlen’s Blues in the Night (which struck me as the very height of sophisticated mysterious adult concerns when I first heard it at about age five).
This album should be heard by all the pure jazz aficionados who feel Sanborn is too pop and commercial; he swings mightily herewith. Sonics are excellent as well.
The Peeper, Only Everything, Hard Times, Let the Good Times Roll, Baby Won’t You Please Come Home, You’ve Changed, Hallelujah I Love Her So, Blues in the Night
— John Henry