David Sancious: Run
David Sancious (guitar, electric bass, keyboards, percussion)
Just As I Thought (OneWay Records 34526)
David Sancious (guitar, electric bass, keyboards, percussion),
Eve Otto (harp), T.M. Stevens or Jeff Berlin (bass), Ernest Carter (percussion, drums).
Composed by David Sancious.
Recorded: Woodstock, NY, released 1979
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
A couple of years ago I had the chance to see David Sancious as an opening act at a local show. I was quite excited. Though Sancious was best known as being a valuable sideman to such rock superstars as Bruce Springsteen and Sting, he was also known in the fusion underground as an important voice in that genre during the 1970s. Much of his sideman work came as a keyboardist. But it was his jazz-rock electric guitar playing that sent fusion fans scurrying for adjectives. For whatever commercial or artistic reasons, Sancious released only two fusion records under his name during this fertile period. Some claim that his record company wanted him to do a "radio friendly" album. And, in fact, his previous album True Stories had to be altered to accomplish that goal. Maybe he became frustrated and decided it was safer and more lucrative to stay in the pop world. I just don't know.
What I do know is that "Run" is a kick-ass fusion number. The tune starts with some nasty funk-oriented bass riffing. The liner notes are not clear which bass player performed on this cut. My somewhat educated ear suggests it was Stevens, though either he or Berlin is quite capable of jumping into another bag when required. Elements of the song bring forth positive comparisons to the best of Tony Williams Lifetime (the Allan Holdsworth version) and to Return to Forever. In some ways, Sancious's guitar playing does sound like Holdsworth, though he seems to have a little more blues in him. Sancious is a man of many talents. The impressive Moog soloing is by him as well. "Run" has an ingratiating rhythmic hook and free-flowing melody. It is one of the rare fusion numbers you could accuse of not being long enough.
I wish I could say I enjoyed Sancious's performance that night as opening act. He seemed uninterested in what he was doing. That stuff rubs off. Maybe I caught him on a bad night. I would have been happy if he had been half as inspired as on "Run."
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky