Closer

Despite the polished orchestrations that give it an overall glossy sheen, David Sanborn's new collection, "Closer," has its share of moving moments, especially when the alto saxophonist renders ballad

Despite the polished orchestrations that give it an overall glossy sheen, David Sanborn's new collection, "Closer," has its share of moving moments, especially when the alto saxophonist renders ballads and plays with spice. With his stellar pop-star credits as a support instrumentalist and his deep jazz roots, the melody-bound Sanborn tries to straddle both worlds with mixed results. Even though he plays it straight with fine vocalist Lizz Wright, their rendition of James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" falls flat with its no-risks blandness. But he starts the CD with a party ("Tin Tin Deo" by Gil Fuller and Chano Pozo) and buoys the proceedings with Abdullah Ibrahim's catchy "Capetown Fringe." Sanborn saves the best for the end with two heartfelt gems, Michel Legrand's "You Must Believe in Spring," a duet with guitarist Russell Malone, and the saxist's touching, melancholic original, "Sofia."—DO