In late April, Bob Edwards Weekend (Saturdays from 8 to 10AM on WEMU) aired a revealing and insightful interview with pianist and producer Bob James. My curiosity about the new Bob James-David Sanborn collaboration, Quartette Humaine, was piqued. The four weeks of waiting are over and you and I can enjoy this new CD which is one of the finest examples of quartet interplay I’ve heard in a while. Legitimate comparisons will be made between Quartette Humaine and legendary Dave Brubeck Quartet featuring Paul Desmond.
Perhaps the Brubeck effect was due to the recording date: one week after the gentle jazz giant left us. With Quartette Humaine, Sanborn and James demonstrate listening skills and intellectual interplay on par with that of Brubeck and Desmond. Quartette Humaine, like the Dave Brubeck Quartet is very much a four piece band. Drummer Steve Gadd is an un-erring timekeeper and master of shading and dynamics throughout Quartette Humaine, especially on ballads My Old Flame andAnother Time, Another Place. Genus glows on Follow Me (an homage to Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond) and Deep In The Weeds. Bob James and David Sanborn, well known to all of us, exceed expectations with their compositions, technique, passion, artistry and intuition. Quartette Humaine is people’s music – jazz – of the highest quality.