Despite its somewhat cheesy name, Sax Across America is a surprisingly understated and pleasant fusion of jazz, instrumental pop, and patriotism. Saxophonist Bruce Abbott, the North Star Jazz Ensemble, and the Hawthorne String Quartet collaborate on a dozen tracks celebrating America and some of its best-known states and cities, infusing the songs with a laid-back but affectionate feeling that is very different than some of the fist-pumping tributes to the U.S. that have arrived recently. While the strings occasionally get a little too sweet from time to time, the performances Abbott and the North Star Ensemble turn in are crisp and restrained, particularly on "Moonlight in Vermont," "America the Beautiful," and "New York State of Mind." Other highlights include "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?," and "America." While it may not be the most musically cutting-edge or loudly patriotic album out there, Sax Across America is still notable for its quiet pride in America and its mellow, affable mood; it's probably one of very few albums equally appropriate as a backdrop for pledging allegiance to the flag or a relaxing dinner.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares