Only Everything, David Sanborn’s second album for Decca, feels like part two of his debut for the label, 2008’s Here & Gone. That set was a tribute to Ray Charles and Hank Crawford -- the alto saxophonist who played with Charles in the '50s and early '60s, and influenced Sanborn tremendously. That set featured loads of vocals and tightly arranged tunes that were indicative of the performances of Charles' bands. Only Everything delves into more of that territory, but this time, Sanborn reflects more heavily on Crawford and David “Fathead” Newman, another legendary Charles ace from roughly the same period. The charts here allow for more soloing and offer a looser, more intimate, spontaneous feel. It contains only two vocal appearances: one by Joss Stone on a punchy “Let the Good Times Roll,” and one by James Taylor in a unique interpretation of “Hallelujah I Love Her So.” There are two different bands here -- one a septet with a horn section, the other an organ trio. Steve Gadd handles all the drum chores here, with Joey DeFrancesco as organist on all cuts. The larger group includes saxophonists Bob Malach and Frank Basile, with Teddy Kadleck on trumpet, and trombonist Mike Davis. The only original here is the title cut, a ballad for trio, while everything else is R&B-drenched, soul-inflected jazz that may have come from a somewhat distant era yet feels contemporary whether played in septet or trio format. Crawford’s “The Peeper” is a soulful blues stutter with Sanborn’s alto lead being punctuated mightily by the horn section underscoring the melody; DeFrancesco fills the backdrop as Gadd swings away. Another highlight is Paul F. Mitchell's “Hard Times,” most recently associated with the Crusaders, but here woven through with soul and gospel via a beautiful horn chart that nods to the Charles band. Sanborn’s solo on this track is just outstanding. The album closes with a noirish yet emotional read of Johnny Mercer's and Harold Arlen's “Blues in the Night,” with DeFrancesco playing an inspired starring role. Any way you cut it, Sanborn’s continued exploration of his roots makes for terrific listening; it builds a smooth, groove-laden bridge between the music of Charles, Crawford, and Newman, to contemporary jazz seemingly effortlessly.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek