David Sancious: Valley of the Shadow


Valley of the Shadow


David Sancious (guitar, electric bass, keyboards, percussion)


Just As I Thought (OneWay Records 34526)

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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: 93/100 (learn more)

"Valley of the Shadow" is my favorite cut from this album. If I did not know better, I would think it was from the '80s fusion group Elements. So right off the bat we know this was a few years ahead its time. Personally I have always preferred Sancious's electric guitar playing. But on this tune his synthesizer and piano work are beyond great. On synthesizer he takes block chords and stretches them out to lie on top of each other. Then he plays a beautiful but aggressive jazz piano on top of all that. The throbbing from the piece's ground-up beat is also quite engaging. Drummer Ernest Carter is given a heavy backbeated solo that leads to Sancious's guitar turn. (In this section especially, the band sounds like Elements with a guest star guitarist.) This is powerful music declaratively presented, and is further evidence that career session musician Sancious was both a talented composer and among the top-notch fusion performers. It is too bad only a few people knew it.

Caveat: The musician credit listing is a bit dubious. Full and provable information does not seem to exist. I could not really tell you who played bass on this cut or if there even was a harp. If I find out for sure, I will amend the review.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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