With a paucity of touring jazz musicians coming to St. Louis for the next couple of weeks, and thus no upcoming shows to preview in this space, this seems like an opportune time to take a closer look at Quartette Humaine, the latest album from saxophonist and St. Louis native Bob James (who grew up in the northwest Missouri town of Marshall) is the first time the two have recorded together since their multi-platinum-selling 1986 album Double Vision, and also features James Genus on bass and Steve Gadd on drums.
Interestingly, the series of live dates underway right now is the first time Sanborn and James have toured together. Given that, plus the fact that the tour only has been going on for a couple of weeks, there's not a huge amount of video documentation online of their collaboration. Nevertheless, we've managed to find a few clips that should provide a taste of Quartette Humaine and the live shows supporting it.
The first clip up above is a music video for Deep In The Weeds," recorded in the studio during sessions for the album. Down below is a making of" promotional video includes some of the same track along with comments from Sanborn and James.
Below that, we've got two clips recorded earlier this year during the Smooth Jazz Cruise, in which bassist Marcus Miller hosts a discussion with James and Sanborn.
In the number five slot, there's a live version of James' instantly recognizable tune Westchester Lady," recorded just last week by an audience member at a show in Orlando, FL. While there are some issues with the clip - the video quality is what you'd expect from a consumer-level, hand-held camera, and the audio mix loses a lot of Genus' bass - it's just about the only live recording of the group playing a full-length song that seems to have surfaced so far.
The final video is an outtake from Sanborn and James' recent appearance on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and shows them playing James' tune Nautilus" with the show's house band The Roots.
You can hear short excerpts of all the tunes on Quartette Humaine at the SoundCloud page set up for the album by OKeh Records. The album also has been reviewed by, among others, Blogcritics' Jack Goodstein; AllAboutJazz.com's Dan Bilewsky; and Something Else's Nick DeRiso.
Will the Sanborn and James tour come to St. Louis? Nothing's scheduled right now, but given that both men have a connection to the state, a swing through Missouri certainly would seem to be a logical step.
So could a proposed Sanborn-fronted jazz festival in St. Louis - a concept teased in one newspaper story last year, but unmentioned since then - serve as a vehicle for their show? In the linked story, the festival was proposed for September, 2013; the schedule for the Sanborn/James tour currently shows no gigs at all, and therefore no conflicts, for that entire month. But if a Sanborn festival in St. Louis actually is going to happen around then, organizers would need some lead time to promote it, which in turn suggests that an announcement would have to be forthcoming quite soon. Stay tuned...