A collection of individual efforts

Special to The Times

The David Sanchez Quartet’s performance Tuesday at the Jazz Bakery brought to mind some fundamental truths about the music. Jazz traditionally has been dominated by major soloists. But beneath the iconic figures is another, less visible but equally important element: musical collectivity.

The Sanchez group -- with pianist Edsel Gomez, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Henry Cole -- wasn’t lacking for soloists fully capable of generating inventive improvisational energy.

Although the music in the opening set was primarily dedicated to material from “Coral” -- the recently released Sanchez CD based on lush textured renderings of works by Latin American composers -- the emphasis was on the compositions and more on stretched-out soloing than the kind of empathetic ensemble work that can take jazz to its highest level.


It’s understandable that Sanchez would want to emphasize material from the new album. But combining it with at least a few pieces more appropriately suited to a quartet context would have made for a more convincing, more thoroughly musical performance.

That said, Sanchez’s warm-toned tenor saxophone ranged from lyrical melody making to fast-paced runs ripping across the full breadth of his horn. Gomez, similarly, juxtaposed crisp two-handed chording against a filigree of right hand flurries. And Glawischnig, although his bass work varied from near inaudibility to over-amplified thunks, played with his characteristic rhythmic flow.

Interestingly, it was drummer Cole -- perhaps the quartet’s least-known member -- whose playing was most consistently gripping. Cole’s greatest appeal traced to his use of dynamics, from whisper-thin brush work to driving crescendos reminiscent of the roiling percussive climaxes of Elvin Jones. At a time when nonstop intensity is the drumming style of the day, Cole -- like Brian Blade, an obvious influence -- focused on the use of his drum kit as a musical instrument rather than as a battering device. He is clearly a player with a future.


David Sanchez

Where: The Jazz Bakery, 3233 Helms Ave., Culver City

When: 8 and 9:30 p.m. today through Sunday

Price: $25

Contact: (310) 271-9039