Coral is an entirely new development in David Sánchez's compositional evolution. The tenor saxophonist explores Latin classical masterworks on this exquisite recording released by Sony Music/Columbia. His seventh CD for the label, and his first with a symphony orchestra, is a nine-track offering that re-interprets such composers as Brazilian masters Antonio Carlos Jobim and Heitor Villa-Lobos, as well as Argentina's foremost representative of musical nationalism Alberto Ginastera. In addition to Sánchez's highly innovative core sextet bringing its versatile jazz improvisations to these songs, the performance is further buoyed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra's accompaniment. The orchestra heightens your listening pleasures with dramatic crescendos, rhapsodic concepts, and elegant melodies on such beautiful songs as "Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar" and the graceful "Coral," while Sánchez and company take full charge of their jazz expressions on "The Elements II." Coupled with Miguel Zenón on alto saxophone, this song takes flight at the intro and segues into a burning solo by David Sánchez. They are definitely in-the-pocket and with each note Sánchez plays, he summons a deeper, more intense jazz spirit that helps create a unique and powerful illustration of both his and the composer's technical and stylistic prowess. By contrast, his mood on the sacred "Vexilla Regis" is emotionally powerful and serene. Alberto Ginastera's 1934 orchestral suite from his ballet "Panambí" (an early work from his Objective Nationalism style) is performed here with similar rhythmic contrasts and has a deep, meditative feeling that flows back and forth in a fluid motion. Overall, David Sánchez and the music have now proven themselves elsewhere and with this brilliant, substantial musical experience, Sánchez is poised to take his place among the great jazz musicians that continue to offer important personal and musical insights to their audiences. Coral is a necessity for any jazz or classical record collection.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein