David Sancious: Suite (From the End of an Age)
Suite (From the End of an Age)
David Sancious (keyboards and guitar)
Just As I Thought (One Way Records)
David Sancious (keyboards and guitar),
Kabir Ghani (vocals), Brenda Madison (female choir), Eve Otto (harp), Ernest Carter (drums, percussion).
Composed by David Sancious.
Recorded: Woodstock, NY, 1979
Rating: 81/100 (learn more)
You ever hear a comic that not too many people have ever heard of introduced to an audience as the "comedian's comedian?" This is generally done for two reasons. One – nobody has ever heard the guy's material. Or two – he is one of those comedians who is so talented and inventive that only other comics understand his material and appreciate it. As a general rule, comedian's comedians never make it big. When it comes to musicians, David Sancious falls under the last-named category. A gifted keyboard player and guitarist, he is the musician's musician. Sancious is probably better known for stints in Bruce Springsteen's and Eric Clapton's bands than for his outstanding fusion work in the '70s. It is a shame because, owing to lack of acknowledgement from a fan base, most of his jazz-rock music from that period is very difficult to find.
"Suite (From the End of an Age)" is broad in scope. At times, due to the way certain synthesizer patches can sound dated, the song sounds cheesy. At other times, the sheer musicianship on display is impressive and uplifting. The suite seems to be woven from 25 separate thread colors. Distinct sections may last a few seconds or a minute. There is no pattern except the lack of one. There is plenty of superior musicianship, but there are purposely no impressive solo turns. Did I mention there is an attempt at pop vocals that doesn't quite work despite a good voice from Kabir Ghani? Vocals in jazz fusion are rarely good. In fact, as a general rule, fusion vocals turn a jazz-rock piece into a progressive rock number. But every once in a while, the vocals in such a laudable fusion effort as this one are good enough to still make things work. Stanley Clarke's "Concerto for Jazz/Rock Orchestra" is another example of this phenomenon.
My starting point for every review is 100. In this case, deduct 10 points for unintentional cheesiness. Take off 20 points for ill-advised vocals. Add back 11 points for overcoming those obstacles and for the creativity exhibited. You always get points for effort even if your experiment doesn't quite work.
Because Sancious is a musician's musician, he is still in heavy demand by some of the world's most famous musicians. And in a positive sign, over the last several years he has started putting out some of his own music again.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky