Review

Sam Sanders & Visions

The Gift Of Love

Mad About • 1983

Not music that one would associate with 1983. Jazz in its purest form. As if the 70s never existed, devoid of fusion sound, spiritual enlightenment. A hint of bossa nova shines through here and there, on »Free Fall« for example, but that’s it. »The Gift of Love« by saxophonist Sam Sanders and his band Visions around bassist Ed Pickens and drummer Jim Knust simply didn’t fit into the 1980s and was quickly overlooked. Forty years later, we hear the music with different ears, neutral and without the need for Zeitgeist. And we hear a saxophonist whose style has been compared to that of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman or Joe Henderson, which is nice to hear on tracks like »Slightly Anxious« or »Un-Stable«. Apart from that, the Detroit jazz sound is known to be more strongly connected to traditional blues than in other cities, which is also impressively expressed here on the deeply sad »Day After Yesterday«. Kenny Cox, his long-time friend and co-founder of the Strata label, who also produced The Gift of Love, can be heard on the piano. Sam Sanders, who played with such illustrious musicians like Pharoah Sanders, Marcus Belgrave, James Blood Ulmer, Sonny Stitt, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, studied with Yusef Lateef and taught at the Detroit Jazz Center, has left far too few recordings. These you have to know.