NEW RELEASES : JAZZ : * 1/2 DAVID SANBORN, "Upfront". Elektra

One is tempted to spell Sanborn's initial with a dollar sign, so firmly does he remain in the clutches of static, stolid, stiff arrangements geared unmistakably to commercial values.

Marcus Miller is as much the culprit as the nominal leader. He is producer, arranger, composer, bass guitarist, keyboardist, bass clarinetist. Other musicians involved in this production must have found it tedious to be constricted by his charts. Randy Brecker's name appears in the credits on two cuts, but it's hard to hear where he is.

One tune, "Hey," has an incredible list of five composer credits. Another, "Bang Bang," is a collection of child's-play, pseudo-Cuban cliches. Perhaps as a sop to anyone seeking a touch of reality, an Ornette Coleman tune, "Ramblin'," is tossed in as the closing cut. It is marginally superior to what precedes it; nevertheless, the more you know about Sanborn's considerable true capability, the less will be the appeal of this exercise in funk futility.

New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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