Antonio Sanchez

New Life

Cam Jazz CAMJ 7856-5

Item: full_album_8052405140920_CD

Artists :
Antonio Sanchez ( Drums )
Dave Binney ( Alto Sax )
Donny McCaslin ( Tenor Sax )
John Escreet ( Piano And Fender Rhodes )
Matt Brewer ( Acoustic And Electric Basses )
Thana Alexa ( Vocals )
Release date
Feb 26, 2013
Duration
1:12:31
Barcode
8052405140920

Being considered one of the greatest sidemen around today can sometimes be a heavy burden to bear. There are very few musicians who with determination, intelligence and willpower can become successful leaders. Antonio Sanchez, supported by the visionary nature of CAM JAZZ, succeeded in this difficult mission.


"New Life", the album by the drummer from Mexico City, conclusively establishes Sanchez as a complete artist; a musician unlike any other behind cymbals and drums, he is a brilliant composer and organizer of sounds. In his music, in a more or less evident manner, references appear and disappear to some of the musicians who have influenced his artistic career—among them Pat Metheny, in whose group Sanchez has played a big part. But there is much more: there's an attention to detail, a love for the immeasurable sense of melody and a unique ability to not put your instrument in the first row, but think of it as one of the voices at the service of the whole.


Since 2007, when Sanchez signed for the first time as leader on CAM JAZZ, a long time has passed for another album under his own name, and "New Life" - a title more than a declaration of intent - is the colored photograph of a journey that will take him far away.


ECHO Jazz 2014 - Instrumentalist of the Year Drums/Percussion for the album NEW LIFE


Recorded in January 2012 at MSR Studios Recording & mixing engineer Pete Karam


Liner notes by Pat Metheny


Photos by John Abbott

Reviews

Antonio Sanchez New Life

Ever felt as if modern jazz lost its way somewhere along the line? Too many artists constructing beautifully played, superbly recorded music that fails to connect at any emotional level whatsoever—it gets played a couple of times before being filed away in the collection never to emerge again. Well, the signs are more positive for this new CD by Antonio Sanchez which marks a huge leap forward from the enjoyable Live in New York at the Jazz Standard from 2010.
Sanchez takes his cues from the spiritual jazz of the late 1960s and early 1970s—the opening tracks echo Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders for example, but this top band pulls them in different directions updating them for today while maintaining that emotional pull. It certainly doesn't hurt when your line up includes the current New York alpha sax player David Binney, alongside Donny McCaslin on tenor and the excellent Brit John Escreet on piano. Sanchez himself and Matt Brewer on Bass clearly understand the particular importance of the rhythm section in this sort of jazz—showing that they have absorbed that Hancock/Coltrane/Sanders soulfulness and ability to build and release tension without yielding to the temptation to slip into 'walking' bass line cliché. Special mention too should also be made of Thana Alexa whose show stopping vocal textures on the 15 minute title track help raise this piece to the stand out track of an already excellent collection. Indeed Alexa's contribution draws raptures from none other than Pat Metheny in his sleevenotes to the disc, so we can only assume that a bright future is assured.
It's a fine line to tread—balancing the melodic and rhythmic elements of the old sound yet roughing it up just enough to make it sound contemporary. Opening track "Uprisings and Revolutions" is a good example of this the horns weaving improvisations around the themes through the excellent stew of piano glissandos and drum rim shots to great effect. "Minotauro" is less raucous, perhaps recalling Mwandishi era Herbie Hancock, as Escreet takes a more central role and the horn interplay on “Medusa” is excellent.
The good news is that the album has enough depth and feeling to hold your interest through multiple plays over an extended period, and that in our instant, commodified, culture is something worth celebrating.

28/1/2014allaboutjazz.comPhil Barnes
Antonio Sanchez New Life

Come ben sottolinea Pat Metheny nelle note di copertina, Sanchez trascende il proprio strumento dando l’impressione di essere innanzitutto un musicista prima ancora che un semplice batterista. Un assunto confermato dalle otto composizioni autografe di questo terzo lavoro a proprio nome, in evidenza nella scrittura composita della lunga title-track: New Life è infatti una mini suite influenzata dall’asse Metheny/Mays, dove le trame vocali intessute da Thana Alexa e dallo stesso Sanchez si allineano sul filo di quella specifica idea musicale. Alla testa di una squadra di fuoriclasse, convocati per l’occasione, il batterista declina il verbo jazz in un’accezione moderna non priva di rimandi stilistici (Zawinul Syndicate). Nascono così il funk scomposto di The Real McDaddy, lastricato di obbligati, stacchi ritmici e un battibecco iniziale fra Binney e McCaslin, e la ballad gospel Nighttime Story.

27/11/2013JazzitAntonino Di Vita
La magia di Sanchez incanta il Jolly

Due ore abbondanti di tesissima, estenuante bellezza sonora. Il quartetto Migration guidato dal batterista messicano Antonio Sanchez ieri sera ha inaugurato con un concerto davvero rimarchevole per intensità e gusto la stagione Nomos Jazz del Teatro Jolly (il tour siciliano della band stasera tocca il teatro Margherita di Caltanissetta, domani lo Sheraton di Catania e giovedì il teatro Trifiletti di Milazzo). Nonostante i disagi causati da ritardi aerei e dallo smarrimento di bagagli e strumenti («senza i miei piatti – avrà modo di commentare con disappunto Sanchez – è come non avessi le gambe»), il quartetto costituito da Dave Binney, sax alto, Matt Brewer, contrabbasso, John Escreet, pianoforte acustico ed elettrico, e dal leader, ha offerto al pubblico che riempiva il teatro una performance spettacolare ma nella quale ogni “effetto speciale”, lungi da inutili ostentazioni, si rivela perfettamente funzionale al linguaggio: un magico incastro millimetrico di ritmi complessi, di obbligati, di momenti improvvisativi, di brusche cesure e ripartenze brucianti, di atmosfere che, all’interno dello stesso brano, possono mutare da acceso parossismo ad impalpabile rarefazione. Sanchez è da tempo che ha superato la fase di “talento rivelazione” maturata accanto a big mondiali, tra cui Pat Metheny, ed oggi, proprio col suo nuovo gruppo, non solo conferma in modo palese l’indiscusso magistero tecnico che lo ha posto ai vertici del proprio strumento ma sottolinea, soprattutto, di possedere doti di perfetto coordinatore di una complessa macchina sonora qual è Migration e di essere efficace autore di composizioni brillanti e seducenti. Il repertorio esplorato proviene tutto dalla sua penna e dal recente “New life” (pubblicato quest’anno dall’italiana Cam Jazz). L’inizio, con una lunga ed estatica “Uprisings and revolutions”, conduce lungo ascensioni prettamente coltraniane, assecondate dai rapimenti di Binney (che usa con sobrietà e gusto tutti i registri del contralto, dal grave al sovracuto, rivestendoli di un timbro deliziosamente opaco), dalle vertigini pianistiche di Escreet (davvero una rivelazione), da quelle percussive di Sanchez, poi rivelatosi efficace anche alle spazzole, e dal turgore di Brewer. Ai momenti in cui i quattro suonano assieme se ne alternano molti altri in cui si gioca per sottrazione (dal trio al duo e, naturalmente, al solo) con una continua permutazione degli strumenti impiegati che rende mutevole e sempre diversa l’atmosfera sonora. Anche i successivi brani (tra cui la nervosa ed elettrica “Minotauro”, la seducente ballad “Nighttime story” e la bellissima title track “New life”) beneficiano di questa continua invenzione, consentendo a ciascun musicista di svagare continuamente tra potenza e delicatezza, volo fulmineo ed estrema dilatazione, tensione lirica e cantabilità. Concerto memorabile e pubblico pago come poche altre volte.

12/11/2013palco-reale-palermo.blogautore.repubblica.itGigi Razete
Cambiamenti per definizione

…Chi invece sembra essere esente da richiami etnici è il batterista messicano Antonio Sanchez: in New Life (Cam Jazz) si conferma leader e musicista a tutto tondo (suoi gli otto brani in scaletta) con un sestetto post-bop newyorkese, in cui le ascendenze latine restano forse simboleggiate dal forte imprinting ritmico nei temi e nelle improvvisazioni.

26/10/2013Alias - Il ManifestoGuido Michelone
Antonio Sanchez New Life

Er ist sicherlich einer der herausragenden modernen amerikanischen Jazz-Drummer, was er in seiner Zusammenarbeit mit z. B. Pat Metheny, Chick Corea nd Michael Brecker eindringlich unter Beweis gestellt hat. Und bereits mit seinem ersten Solo-Album “Migration” demonstrierte er, dass er auch als Komponist zu überzeugen weiß. Mit “New Life” kann Antonio Sanchez dies noch einmal deutlich unterstreichen. Im Gegensatz zu “Migration” kommen hier nicht nur die Bläser zur Geltung, sondern auch das exzellente Pianospiel von John Escreet der dem Ganzen eine weitere neue Klangfarbe verleiht und eine weitere Facette der Kompositionsgabe von Antonio Sanchez enthüllt. Im Bassisten Matt Brewer hat er zudem einen kongenialen Rhythmus-Partner gefunden, der nicht nur rhythmisch im Zusammenspiel brilliert, sondern ebenfalls melodische und harmonische Tiefe liefert. Zwar sind gewisse Einflüsse von Antonio Sanchez’ ehemaligen musikalischen Wegbegleitern nicht von der Hand zu weisen, doch weiß dieser durchaus, diese auf neue Wege zu bringen und mit “New Life” zu versehen. Großartig ist auch der Beitrag von Gast-Sängerin Tana Alexa beim Titelstück, der dies zu einem Highlight des Albums macht. Und für uns Drummer ist das rhythmisch wie melodisch wunder-volle Schlagzeugspiel von Antonio Sanchez mit Sicherheit ein musikalisches Lehrstück.

5/8/2013SticksAM
Antonio Sanchez New Life

Der in Mexiko geborene Jazzdrummer, der durch seine Zusammenarbeit mit Chick Corea, Pat Metheny und Michael Brecker sowie durch eine beeindruckende musikalische Persönlichkeit bekannt geworden ist, präsentiert sich auf seinem neuen Soloalbum nicht allein als herausragender Musiker mit einem zielsicheren Gespür für den richtigen Moment oder grandioser Techniker, sondern auch als geschmackvoller Komponist. Alle acht Kompositionen stammen von Sanchez. Und mit ihnen muss er sich beileibe nirgendwo verstecken. Auf der spielerischen Seite geht Sanchez mit einem bestens aufgelegten und spielfreudigen Quintett (zweimal sax, p, b, dr) auf die Reise ins “neue Leben” – und die ist wahrlich spannend. Und Sanchez’ Schlagzeugspiel? Nur ein Wort: unglaublich! Insgesamt kommt auf diesem Ausnahmealbum nichts überladen oder aus Selbstzweck daher, sondern sämtliche Musiker stellen sich ganz in den Dienst der Sache. Die abwechslungsreichen, jazzigen Kompositionen haben in vielerlei Hinsicht ihren Reiz, und Sanchez weiß diesen gekonnt und in der richtigen Sekunde perfekt auszuspielen. Er selbst zeigt sich hier zweifelsohne in absoluter Höchstform. Eine ausdrückliche Empfehlung, denn für dieses Album lässt man sicher ganz gerne manch anderes im Regal stehen!

9/7/2013drums & percussionib
ANTONIO SANCHEZ New Life

Lungi dal restare confinato nella definizione e nel ruolo pur prestigioso di ‘batterista di Pat Metheny’ (come toccato in sorte ad almeno un suo predecessore nel P.M. Group), il talentuoso Antonio Sanchez ci tiene e parecchio alla sua parallela attività jazzistica, fatta di collaborazioni eccellenti (il New Quartet di Gary Burton, per esempio), ma soprattutto di una ben avviata carriera da leader, impreziosita ora da questo splendido New Life. A sei anni da Migration, suo album solista d’esordio, e a tre dal ‘corollario’ Live in New York, il batterista e compositore messicano aggiunge un elemento al suo combo, il pianista (acustico ed elettrico) John Escreet, e la resa della sua musica ne guadagna esponenzialmente. Dave Binney e Donny McCaslin ai sax (alto e tenore rispettivamente), Matt Brewer al basso (elettrico e acustico) e Thana Alexa, impegnata alla voce in un paio di episodi, sono gli altri bravissimi partner chiamati a interpretare delle composizioni caratterizzate da una bella vena melodica e ritmicamente assai diverse fra loro. Dall’apertura coltraniana di “Uprising and Revolutions” agli echi New Orleans di “The Real McDaddy”, dal pezzo ‘epico’, un po’ metheniano come concezione della title track alla leggerezza del disegno di spazzole di “Air”, tutti i brani di New Life sono caratterizzati dal drumming sopraffino del leader, fluido, misurato ed estremamente musicale sia nell’accompagnamento sia nei frequenti episodi solisti. Questi ultimi appaiono sempre ben inseriti nell’arrangiamento dei brani, quasi uno sviluppo inevitabile del brano stesso, e mai un gratuito spot per le abilità tecniche – peraltro elevatissime – di Antonio Sanchez. Strepitoso.

24/5/2013Drumset MagAlfredo Romeo
Antonio Sanchez New Life

Può sembrare una banalità, ma quando il pubblico e la critica conoscono un musicista come side man, per quest’ultimo è molto difficile uscire da quei binari per essere considerato un leader di successo. Non è il caso, però, di Antonio Sanchez, batterista e polistrumentista che fra le innumerevoli collaborazioni della sua carriera può vantare quella con Pat Metheny. Il suo ultimo disco, infatti, dal titolo New Life sorprende per la maturità con cui ha affrontato questa nuova sfida, per l’abilità nella composizione e per quella ricerca melodica che va decisamente al di là dell’estro del singolo. Un progetto, dunque, in cui Antonio Sanchez ha saputo dimostrare ancora una volta di essere un abile architetto, capace di calibrare la sua tecnica al servizio della composizione e del risultato finale. Non a caso oltre ad essere un batterista dalla tecnica invidiabile, capace di adattarsi nelle situazioni più disparate, sa anche suonare bene il pianoforte, cosa che certamente aiuta quando si vuole realizzare un progetto da leader, collaborando con musicisti d’eccezione.

21/5/2013SuonoCarlo Cammarella
Antonio Sanchez “New Life”

Questo recentissimo album del talentuoso batterista di origine messicana Antonio Sanchez, già portentoso partner di Pat Metheny, Chris Potter, Enrico Pieranunzi e altri virtuosi del jazz internazionale, si ripropone al grande pubblico (grazie alla proficua collaborazione con l’intraprendente label CAM Jazz) nel non facile ruolo di band leader. In tal senso, questo interessante disco dal titolo “New Life”, presenta il funambolico solista in compagnia di un nugolo di talentuosi partners, di cui fanno parte i sassofonisti Dave Binney e Donny McCaslin, il pianista John Escreet, il contrabbassista Matt Brewer e la giovane cantante Thana Alexa. I brani inclusi in questo lavoro provengono tutti dalla vena creativa di Sanchez che, oltre a confermare il suo concreto porsi alla testa di una formazione di talentuosi musicisti, si fa apprezzare anche per una consolidata maturità compositiva. In continuità con il precedente doppio album dal vivo del 2011, “New Life” conserva una misurata coerenza negli arrangiamenti e una diffusa energia formale, sebbene ponga in risalto una maggiore focalizzazione progettuale con un interplay collettivo e una coesa visione espressiva. Sin dalla traccia d’apertura “Uprising and Revolutions” si colgono i perfetti intrecci linguistici fra i sassofoni e la spumeggiante sezione ritmica che, condotta per mano dal maestoso drummin’ di Antonio Sanchez, connota il tutto con una rilevante raffinatezza estetica. L’alternarsi fra momenti densi di trascinante esuberanza ritmica e altri decisamente più rilassati rende ancor più fruibile l’opera che, nel dipanarsi della lunga titletrack di matrice metheniana, della vibrante “Medusa” e della coinvolgente “Family Ties”, raggiunge il suo apice progettuale. Dunque, con “New Life” il batterista e compositore Antonio Sanchez compie un notevole salto di qualità, mostrando a chiare lettere di possedere un’indubbia abilità nel saper coniugare composizione, direzione e arrangiamento, in una significativa produzione discografica che va ascoltata con il giusto entusiasmo e la dovuta attenzione.
La ripresa audio di quest’ultimo lavoro di Sanchez risulta di buon livello sonico: la corretta riproduzione dinamico-timbrica dei singoli strumenti è esaltata da un’ampia scena sonora che rende estremamente godibile la sua fruizione.

15/5/2013Fedeltà del Suono - La Bacchetta MagicaFrancesco Peluso
Antonio Sanchez New Life - CD OF THE MONTH

Sanchez’ last release, Live In New York, was a hard-blowing affair featuring a chord-less quartet of tenor and alto saxophones accompanied by Sanchez and bassist Scott Colley, while his debut Migration featured a similar quartet with occasional harmonica support (and more) provided by guests such as Chick Corea and Pat Metheny. On New Life, however, he expands his group to a quintet – adding pianist John Escreet – while demonstrating a sizeable shift in his compositional and orchestrating skills, resulting in his strongest album yet. Escreet definitely evokes McCoy Tyner, while Sanchez gives a nod to Elvin on the 7/4 swing of the Coltrane-influenced opener “Uprisings And Revolutions”, which reaches a Coltrane-like intensity, particularly during the solos. Matt Brewer’s deceptive bass ostinato sets up “Minotauro”, a composition that displays Sanchez’s ear for melody and arrangement, but the 14-minute epic “New Life” is definitely the album’s centrepiece. It has an undeniable Metheny/Mays influence and features the Brazilian-sounding wordless vocals of Thana Alexa. Elsewhere, we have the gentle 6/8 of “Nighttime Story”, the mysterious Latin vibe of “Medusa” and the New Orleans groove of “The Real McDaddy” and fantastic soloing from all – including saxophonists David Binney and Donny McCaslin, and some funky Fender Rhodes from Escreet. The result is a varied, extremely accomplished and, most importantly, highly listenable album.

8/5/2013Drummer MagazineBret Keefe
ANTONIO SANCHEZ New Life

Antonio Sanchez épaule Pat Metheny depuis treize années. Le guitariste le souligne avec force dans le texte du livret: Sanchez ne se contente pas de se montrer accompagnateur exceptionnel, mais compositeur affirmé (il signe les huit titres de New Life). Le premier album du leader, Migration, révéla le talent. Le Live In New York At Jazz Standard le confirma. Cette fois, le batteur ajoute un pianiste (John Escreet) aux souffleurs (David Binney et Donny McCaslin). Consécration sur toute la ligne.

30/4/2013So JazzBruno Pfeiffer
Antonio Sanchez New Life

On his acclaimed 2010 double album, Live in New York, Antonio Sanchez stirred up excitement with a pianoless, two-saxophone quartet that stretched out on songs as long as 20 minutes. Despite such daring, New Life is a bold step forward. With the addition of the brilliant young pianist John Escreet (playing acoustic and electric) and the substitution of a song-oriented approach for a jamming one, the drummer-composer fosters a transformation akin to turning 2D into 3D. One artfully crafted song after another bursts to life, no two of them alike. It’s a breakthrough that establishes this longtime Pat Metheny and Gary Burton sideman as a major artist in his own right.
The tunes, which reflect Sanchez’s drumming with their taut strength and eruptive power, give two of jazz’s hottest saxophonists, altoist David Binney and tenorist Donny McCaslin, all they can handle: soaring melodies, rich harmonies, clever structures, meaty unison parts. After showing off his Chick Corea and McCoy Tyner influences early, Sanchez carves his own animated signature sound with the adrenalized, leaping and loping “Medusa,” the coolly reflective “Air” (featuring standout bassist Matt Brewer), the teasing, hard-bopping “The Real McDaddy” and the open, exuberant “Family Ties,” which boasts charged exchanges between the saxophonists and a dazzling acoustic solo by Escreet.
And then there’s the thematic journey of the one epic number, the 14-minute title track. It has worlds to offer: a pensive opening, lilting Brazilian melody with wordless vocals by Thana Alexa (now Sanchez’s fiancée), an overpowering middle section, a gorgeous piano interlude, a soaring section featuring multiplied vocals, and then, emerging like a hidden track, an eerie coda. In contemplating the passages of existence, “New Life” may have you thinking of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. The film, of course, doesn’t swing nearly as well.

18/4/2013jazztimes.comLloyd Sachs
Antonio Sanchez New Life

“New Life” stellt für Sanchez den Schritt vom Sideman zum Bandleader dar. Obwohl bereits sein drittes Album unter eigenem Namen, unterscheidet sich das neueste Werk des mexikanischen Ausnahmeschlagzeugers deutlich. Zum einen erweitert der brillante junge Pianist John Escreet, seinerseits Gewinner des Thelonious Monk Piano-Wettbewerbs 2009, das bisher harmonielose Ensemble. Damit öffnen sich auch Türen zu lyrischen Balladen, wie beispielsweise “Air”. Die acht Eigenkompositionen unterstreichen Sanchez’ ausgezeichneten kompositorischen Fähigkeiten. Damit rückt er ab vom Jamsession-Charakter seines letzten Albums “Live in New York” (2010). Die Titelnummer “New Life” baut – wie die meisten anderen Songs – auf einer repetitiven Ostinatofigur, diesmal des Pianos, auf. Nicht nur der instrumentale Einsatz der Sängerin Thana Alexa machen den Einfluss von Metheny/Mays offensichtlich in diesem 14-minütigen Brasil-Epos. Tenorsaxophonist McCaslin entwickelt sein Solo so gekonnt, dass der Übergang zwischen Komposition und Improvisation verschwimmt. Nachdem die erste Flut der Energie verebbt ist, beginnt der Song von Neuem, dieses Mal als Pianotrio, und entwickelt sich in eine ausgedehnte, offene Endphase, welche mit einem Fade-Out endet. “New Life” ist Sanchez‘ bestes Album bisher, mit ausgezeichneten Solisten und einem Livefeeling, das auf eine baldige Tournee hoffen lässt.

10/4/2013Jazz’n’moreps
Antonio Sanchez Flows Free and Easy

You know the old joke: “What do you call a guy who hangs out with musicians?”
“A drummer.” Fid-a-boomp.
Maybe we should reformulate that: “What do you call musicians who hang out with drummer Antonio Sanchez?”
“Lucky.”
That reworking comes on the heels of listening to New Life, the latest release from this melodic drummer, whose résumé includes outstanding work with Pat Metheny, Danilo Pérez, Gary Burton, and Miguel Zenón, among others. The album delivers an affirmation of hope and confidence, showcasing Sanchez’s rich compositional talents as well as the improvisational mastery of the top-drawer lineup: David Binney (alto sax), Donny McCaslin (tenor sax), John Escreet (piano and Rhodes), and Matt Brewer (bass), with special guest Thana Alexa (voice).
The album’s eight tracks, all Sanchez originals, total more than 72 minutes, with the title track clocking in at over 14 minutes, but you won’t be checking your watch halfway through a tune to see how much longer it has to go. That’s because Sanchez carries you and the band through ever-changing terrain as effortlessly as a river, sometimes flowing wide and placid through serene valleys, sometimes twisting and boiling through hard, narrow canyons—but everywhere on course.
New Life, Sanchez’s third release as a leader, adds a piano to the two saxes and bass that peopled his earlier releases, and the composer does not hesitate to invoke the keyboard’s harmonic power to color his pieces.
Escreet plays with tremendous sensitivity and keeps the harmonic possibilities open and breathing, never trying to impose a hard frame around the music. There’s a mathematical clarity and certainty to his soloing, but he continually surprises. On “The Real McDaddy,” fun and funk permeate his lines and underscore Sanchez’s invitation to dance, while on the “Nighttime Story” lullaby, you can rest your head on his solo.
Of course, with Binney and McCaslin around, good luck to any pianist who might wish to dictate the harmonic palette. Just listen to Binney surf all over the head on the uplifting “Uprisings and Revolutions”—he’s got a big-ass motor on that surfboard. One of the album’s highlights comes on “Medusa,” an intense tangle of snaky sax lines: Binney comes across a little motif in his solo and works it over and over. It sounds for a moment like he might be stuck, but what had appeared to be an obstacle is revealed to be a key that opens the solo into a soaring climax.
Bassist Matt Brewer isn’t looking to play it safe, either. He’s continually tweaking the harmonic flora, and he grounds the rhythm in a way that gives Sanchez the freedom to open up his drumming.
Sanchez, indeed, is the star, though he never obtrudes. His writing is emotionally specific and rich, with each tune carving out a distinct territory, but at the same time, he gives the players plenty of space to explore. The title track may be the album’s most evocative composition, communicating a sense of expectancy and acceptance. It’s probably no mistake that the lovely vocals of his fiancée, Alexa, play a primary role on this track.
Sanchez’s light touch and sonic diversity on the drum kit should serve as a lesson to those who would beat their kits into submission, and the subtlety of his cymbal work—you get the sense that he sometimes just shoots a glance at a cymbal to get the sound he wants, no sticks required—could likewise instruct those who seem intent on rehammering their alloy discs. His solos have a storytelling architecture to them, and as with all good stories, you never quite know what is coming next.
As a sideman, Sanchez has informed the work of many jazz icons. If New Life is any indication, though, his real contributions will come as a leader, for he seems to inspire the entire band.

10/4/2013Musically Speaking (melminter.com) Mel Minter
New Life Antonio Sanchez

Quando uno dei massimi virtuosi del proprio strumento raduna alcuni tra i solisti più richiesti del jazz statunitense per registrare una serie di composizioni originali, è inevitabile che dia luogo ad aspettative elevate. È stato il caso di Antonio Sanchez, con il suo terzo disco da leader, pubblicato da Cam Jazz, come del resto i precedenti due (Migration e Live in New York at Jazz Standard).
Questa volta, al fianco del batterista di Città del Messico, ci sono Dave Binney e Donny McCaslin ai sassofoni, mentre John Escreet al pianoforte e Matt Brewer al basso completano la ritmica.
Per Sanchez, la sfida principale è consistita nell'assumersi la responsabilità di misurarsi con composizioni proprie, lui che possiede, tra l'altro, un bagaglio solido di studi accademici, compiuti su di uno strumento diverso -il pianoforte- da quello che lo ha reso celebre. Per questo, forse, la composizione più ambiziosa è quella che dà il titolo all'intero lavoro. "New Life" è infatti una suite, della durata all'incirca di un quarto d'ora, che rivela, senza mezzi termini, l'influenza di Pat Metheny: a cominciare dalla ricca tessitura di voci, tutte incise dalla cantante Thana Alexa e dallo stesso Sanchez, per proseguire con le orchestrazioni tipiche dell'arrangiatore del Pat Metheny Group, il tastierista Lyle Mays.
I restanti brani hanno tutti in comune, oltre alla maggior concisione, il fatto di reggersi su canovacci tutto sommato convenzionali. "The Real McDaddy," ad esempio, è un funk costellato da innumerevoli obbligati e ostacoli ritmici. "Nighttime Story," invece, è una ballad, il cui impianto Gospel viene valorizzato soprattutto nei soli.
Se il basso di Brewer fa da perno per gli equilibri dell'intero quintetto, costituendone l'ancoraggio sul tempo, tutti gli altri musicisti non si risparmiano certo nel numero di note suonate: Sanchez con i suoi proverbiali incastri ritmici, Escreet con i suoi lunghi arpeggi, Binney e McCaslin con il loro suono secco ed il fraseggio nervoso.
Nel complesso, con questo New Life, Sanchez non pare aver voluto puntare sull'originalità: lo conferma la riproposizione di modelli subito riconoscibili, come il Pat Metheny Group o gli Zawinul Syndicate. L'intento era piuttosto quello di snocciolare esecuzioni impeccabili, innegabilmente impeccabili. E questo, Sanchez e compagni, lo sanno fare benissimo.

9/4/2013italia.allaboutjazz.comLuca Casarotti
Antonio Sanchez New Life

Antonio Sanchez, batteur né au Mexique en 1971, signe à l’âge de 42 ans son troisième album seulement en leader. Très bon signe: ses multiples employeurs (Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Danilo Perez…) ne lui ont guère laissé le temps de conduire ses propres groupes. “New Life” confirme le goût et le style de Sanchez: jeu tonique, ultra-précis, et penchants jazzistiques fougueux et optimistes. Si l’album ouvre en effet sur un Uprisings And Revolutions grave (et très coltranien), il cède rapidement la place à sept autres compositions du batteur enjouées et assorties de phrases thématiques belles, et prenantes car volontiers répétées comme à l’infini. On relèvera l’intervention ponctuelle, mais élégante, de Thana Alexa, chanteuse américaine d’origine croate que l’on aimerait entendre davantage. Côté solistes, la tendance est à l’usage de l’arme lourde. Donny McCaslin semble toujours chercher à battre ses propres records de technique au saxophone ténor. David Binney, l’un des saxophonistes alto les plus solides au monde, nous offre une fort jolie pause au saxophone soprano sur une séduisante ballade intitulée Air (un feeling et un son d’une épaisseur ahurissante!). À noter enfin le titre The Real McDaddy, un funk pur et dur d’une telle générosité qu’il justifie à lui seul l’achat de l’album.

2/4/2013Jazzmagazine/JazzmanÉric Quenot
Nuova vita per un prodigio

Il titolo che il grande batterista messicano ha scelto per questo suo secondo cd da leader (il primo, Migration, è datato 2007 ed è pure della CamJazz) è molto significativo. Conosciamo Sanchez soprattutto per i concerti e i dischi come collaboratore di Pat Metheny presso la Nonesuch (Speaking of Now 2002 e The Way Up 2005 con il Group; Day Trip 2008 con il Trio e Unity 2012 con il Quartetto). E’ appena quarantenne ma lo conosciamo da sempre perché ha iniziato a studiare la batteria a cinque anni e a esibirsi in pubblico quando ne aveva dieci. Ma è merito della CamJazz se con questo cd Sanchez affianca al ruolo di sideman di lusso quello di direttore (con Dave Binney sax alto, Danny McCaslin sax tenore, John Escreet pianoforte, Matt Brewer contrabbasso, Thana Alexa voce) e di compositore esclusivo. Ci si trova benissimo e fa musica stupenda come se non avesse mai fatto altro.

2/4/2013AmadeusFranco Fayenz
Antonio Sanchez

Le Mexicain épaule Pat Metheny depuis 13 années, lequel guitariste souligne avec force dans le texte d'accompagnement ceci: Sanchez ne se contente pas de se montrer batteur exceptionnel. Il se montre également compositeur affirmé (il signe les huit titres de New Life). Le premier album du leader, Migration, révéla le don. Live in New-York at Jazz Standards confirma le talent. Sur New Life le batteur ajoute un pianiste (John Escreet) aux souffleurs (David Binney et Donny McCaslin). C'est la consécration sur toute la ligne.

22/3/2013jazz.blogs.liberation.frBruno Pfeiffer
Antonio Sanchez: New Life

As the rhythmic drumming powerhouse behind guitarist Pat Metheny for the past decade, Antonio Sanchez has built a reputation as a percussionist with an almost superhuman technique who can send jaws dropping to the floor with his soloing. But the Mexican’s third album as leader reveals a more thoughtful side. There is still enough pyrotechnics to burn down the average house, but the former classical pianist’s tunes are far more than just excuses to display his chops, and the group he has assembled to play them features some of the most expressive, forward-thinking musicians on the New York scene, including saxophonists Donny McCaslin and Dave Binney, pianist John Escreet and bassist Matt Brewer. Those hoping for a cameo from Sanchez’s regular employer will have to make do with Metheny’s fulsome liner note.

15/3/2013irishtimes.comCormac Larkin
Antonio Sanchez New Life

Antonio Sanchez è uno dei più forti batteristi jazz odierni per tecnica, precisione, aperture ritmiche e esuberanza coloristica del latin flavour. Qui si conferma anche band leader con le idee chiare: sia per la scelta del repertorio moderno che per quella dei musicisti, eccezionali post hard bopper. David Binney (sax alto), Donny McCaslin (tenore), John Escreet (piano) e Matt Brewer (contrabbasso).

15/3/2013l’UnitàAldo Gianolio
Antonio Sanchez: New Life

You may have attended a concert by vibraphonist Gary Burton or guitarist Pat Metheny and, like many others found yourself unable to keep from focusing your attention on the drummer, Antonio Sanchez. His presence, exudes a sort of rhythmic magnetism that has backed players such as Chick Corea, Miguel Zenón, and Metheny for the past 13 years.
When he releases a disc as leader playing his original compositions, his full arsenal is on display. New Life follows the double-disc Live In New York (CAM Jazz, 2010) recorded at Jazz Standard in 2008. Sticking with a two-horn front, Sanchez employs tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin and alto saxophonist David Binney plus, here he includes everybody's newly discovered piano genius, John Escreet to his rhythm section along with bassist Matt Brewer, the 2009 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz competition.
With Escreet in the line up, Sanchez' compositions take precedence over simply a blowing session. "Uprising And Revolutions" opens the disc as a simmering ballad that simmers, parboils, then roils with turbulent energies as Binney, McCaslin and Escreet push up against the swirling cauldron continually stirred by Sanchez. "Medusa" is a befitting vehicle for the two saxophonists to tangle, McCaslin's jocularity versus Binney's probing thrusts. Sanchez' controlled energy allows his band to expand their sounds without boundary. The funkiness of "The Real McDaddy" opens as two horns and drums alone, then spins itself into something that could be mistaken for a Curtis Mayfield tune covered by Tower Of Power. With Escreet's playing Fender Rhodes piano here and on "Minotauro", the band morphs into a groove heavy party band.
But wait, there's more. Sanchez delivers a thoughtful blues ballad with "Nighttime Story" and the centerpiece of the album is the title track. At nearly 15 minutes, the song is a nod to Metheny with the wordless vocals of Thana Alexa and ever expanding composition. Rarely does a studio-created album beg for a live performance, as New Life does.

14/3/2013allaboutjazz.com Mark Corroto
Antonio SANCHEZ: "New Life"

Sideman des plus recherchés, le batteur mexicain-newyorkais Antonio Sanchez est aussi un leader remarquable et un compositeur inspiré. Il l’avait déjà montré avec un "Live in New-York" (2010) qui mettait en avant les saxophonistes David Sànchez et Miguel Zenón dans la formule "brute" du quartet sans instrument harmonique.
C’est à nouveau le label italien CamJazz qui publie "New Life" (pour une nouvelle vie ?) dans lequel brillent, cette fois, les saxophonistes David Binney et Donny McCaslin. Cette fois, le batteur a fait appel au jeune pianiste John Escreet, à l’aise sur tous les claviers, pour donner plus d’ampleur à sa musique.
On pourrait oser un rapprochement entre cette formation et celles qu’a pu diriger un Jack DeJohnette (en particulier les déclinaisons du groupe Special Edition) pour la manière de fédérer les énergies de musiciens aux personnalités marquées. Sans doute aussi y a-t-il une filiation entre les deux batteurs dans la manière de penser le rythme et sa mise en espace?
Toujours est-il que New Life révèle la dimension de compositeur et de leader d’Antonio Sanchez. Certes, la brièveté n’est pas sa spécialité (la plage la plus courte dure 6’35). Chaque composition comporte une architecture qui retient l’attention, en particulier "New Life" qui n’est pas sans évoquer les fresques du Pat Metheny Group (dont A. Sanchez fut le batteur) avec la place accordée à la voix de Thana Alexa.
Se livrer au jeu des comparaisons peut sembler assez réducteur car ce disque possède de beaux atouts et articule remarquablement les voix de deux saxophonistes qui ont de belles choses à raconter sans sombrer dans le bavardage ennuyeux. On en donnera pour preuve l’énergie que dégage "The Real McDaddy" où Dave Binney et Donny McCaslin se livrent à un échange ébouriffant!
Pat Metheny, auteur du texte du livret, vante les mérites de son fidèle complice sans forcer le trait. À l’écoute de ce disque qui délivre une musique chaleureuse, inventive, solide et toujours ancrée dans les valeurs du jazz qui avance, on le croit volontiers.

12/3/2013culturejazz.frThierry Giard
Antonio Sanchez: New Life

On the back of drummer Antonio Sanchez's New Life, there's a quote from guitarist Pat Metheny, who says, "This record feels like a leap forward for Antonio." He should know; Sanchez has been the guitarist's drummer of choice for literally every project requiring one since he recruited him for Pat Metheny Group and Speaking of Now (Warner Bros.) in 2002. While Metheny has placed Sanchez in a number of contexts—ranging from the trio with bassist Christian McBride and two albums including Tokyo Day Trip (Nonesuch, 2008), a reunion with vibraphonist Gary Burton and bassist Steve Swallow, documented on Quartet Live (Concord, 2009) and the more recent Unity Band (Nonesuch, 2012) (now Unity Group)—Sanchez has also been working his chops as a leader on Migration (Cam Jazz, 2007) and Live in New York at Jazz Standard (Cam Jazz, 2010).
Neither of those recordings—good as they are—are suitable preparation for New Life, where Sanchez takes a quantum leap forward as his compositional, conceptual and bandleading skills catch up with his playing. Sanchez hasn't just been working with Metheny in the past decade; his résumé has seen him in a multitude of contexts, ranging from saxophonists David Sanchez and Miguel Zenón, and trumpeters Alex Sipiagin and Diego Urcola, to singers Diane Reeves and Jane Monheit, and pianists Enrico Pieranunzi and Kenny Werner. Such experience would suggest a growing eclecticism, but while New Life is, indeed, Sanchez's most far-reaching recording, it's also one that, like his previous two, has a distinct identity, in this case in the broader context of his best group yet, a hard-hitting quintet occasionally augmented with singer Thana Alexa's wordless vocals.
Sanchez has also been one of Donny McCaslin's first-calls, appearing on a string of four recordings with the tenor saxophonist starting with Soar (Sunnyside, 2006), so it's no surprise to see McCaslin return the favor here, delivering the kind of unfettered yet still somehow in-control power that's become a personal signature. What makes New Life even more special is Sanchez's enlisting of David Binney. A fixture on the New York scene and a significant compositional/production influence who also happens to be an even stronger and more inventive player when freed from those roles to just play, the alto saxophonist collaborated with McCaslin in the '90s quartet Lan Zang, and the pair have since found themselves together on various projects for good reason: beyond Sanchez's own ability to blend frenetic potency with paradoxically ferocious delicacy, Binney and McCaslin's uncanny chemistry—whether playing unison, harmony or counterpoint that often orbits but occasionally intersects—represents a big part of New Life's drive. Pianist John Escreet, a relative up-and-comer who has been a part of Binney's circle since his own Don't Fight the Inevitable (2010), on the altoist's Mythology label, continues to prove an increasingly acute and intuitive player regardless of context—and whether he's on acoustic piano or Fender Rhodes—making him an ideal addition to the group. Bassist Matt Brewer has a preexisting musical relationship with Escreet and, beyond that, a similar breadth of reach, ranging from saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa to trombonist Ryan Keberle, that makes him another ideal partner. With a band like this, how could Sanchez fail?
Well, if folks want to use coined phrases like "this group could play the phone book and make it sound good," that may be true except that, just like a good actor with a good script versus a bad one—where it might still be possible to recognize his/her talent but it doesn't make the movie any good—that's where Sanchez's growth as a writer comes in.
There's a myriad of touchstones to be found here, to be sure. The modal opener, "Uprisings and Revolutions," suggests how saxophonist John Coltrane might sound, were he a young firebrand emerging today, but this is far from direct imitation; instead, with Brewer anchoring and Sanchez driving with a perfect blend of freedom and finesse, Escreet's accompaniment behind incendiary solos from both saxophonists may, indeed, have roots in Coltrane-era McCoy Tyner, but with a density less based on blocky muscularity and more on the pianist's use of expanded modernist harmony, Escreet's support drives the tune towards Sanchez's ostinato-based solo, one as heated as anything that's come before.
The alternating sections of "Minotauro" create a constantly shifting sense of tension and release throughout, from irregular to regular meter, with Escreet's ethereal Fender Rhodes creating more delicate support to the horns—two lines that, at times chase each other, elsewhere operate in unison and, finally, spread out into broader harmony. Escreet takes an initially dark-hued solo that opens up when the meter shifts to 6/8, gradually building in intensity before leading to another ostinato-driven solo from Sanchez that plays liberally with time, even as it builds to its own thunderous peak.
The title track's breezy Brazilian vibe, arpeggio-driven piano lines and wordless vocals feel, at first, like something that would be comfortable in the Metheny Group songbook but, like so much of New Life, it's a ruse as it unfolds into a propulsive middle section that sets up one of Binney's finest solos, the altoist moving from innate lyricism to searing lines of near-light speed. If Sanchez has learned anything from Metheny compositionally, it's how to think on a more expansive scale and build towards a climax bigger than the sum of its two individual parts, now harmoniously brought together.
There are hints of gospel in the gentler ballad of "Nighttime Story," while Alexa's ability to sing Sanchez's knotty, serpentine melody on the driving "Medusa" suggests a rising star worthy of real attention. "The Real McDaddy" is a piece of idiosyncratic funk that, after an opening trio of Binney, McCaslin and Sanchez, turns quirkier still, with thematic stops and starts and metric shifts that set up a different trio—Escreet, Brewer and Sanchez—where the pianist (on Rhodes) manages to connect the dots with a combination of cerebral dexterity and the occasional touch of grease. "Air" is a lyrical ballad that seems like a feature for McCaslin on soprano, despite not being credited as such on the date, while the set closes with another cinematic epic in "Family Ties."
With so much going for it, it's hard to imagine New Life not showing up on plenty of "best of year" lists, even though it's still early days for 2013. With New Life, Sanchez the composer and bandleader has caught up with Sanchez the player, and if he's learned another thing from his tenure with Metheny it's how to write tunes that are compelling and downright accessible, despite being unequivocally challenging under the hood. With his group hitting the road for a month of touring in support of New Life, Sanchez has reached a new stage in his career. If he remains in demand with artists like Metheny—whose Unity Group is gearing up for a recording and major tour—hopefully he'll still be able to carve time out for himself in his busy schedule. With material this strong and a band this capable, Sanchez is ready to focus more time on being a leader, because clearly it's paying big dividends.

11/3/2013 allaboutjazz.com John Kelman
ANTONIO SANCHEZ “New Life ”

Dans mon nirvana des batteurs qui évoluent de l'autre côté de l'Atlantique, il y a quelques sérieux clients. Sans vouloir tomber dans un name-dropping un peu futile, je citerai bien quand même et pêle-mêle Jeff Tain Watts, Gerald Cleaver, Eric Harland, Justin Brown, Nasheet Waits et.. le batteur mexicain Antonio Sanchez dont il faut bien dire que je suis l’un des grands fans.
Il n’y a pas si longtemps, nous écrivions dans ces mêmes colonnes tout le bien que l'on pensait de son avant-dernier album (son album “Live au Jazz Standard de New York”).
Sans accéder au même niveau, ce nouvel album inscrit résolument le batteur de Pat Metheny comme ce qui se fait de mieux en ce moment. Antonio Sanchez est en effet de ceux qui, quand bien même il s'entoure (comme ici) d'un all-stars impressionnant, donne néanmoins l'impression d'avoir des épaules si larges qu'elles suffisent à elles seules à tenir la boutique. Engin à propulsion capable de catapulter n’importe quelle section rythmique et non des moindres puisqu’il s’agit en l’occurrence du jeune John Escreet et de Matt Brewer. Antonio Sanchez en fils spirituel d'Elvin Jones. Sorte de Vulcain en second, maître des forges, Hérault du feu qu'il maîtrise et sur lequel il souffle avec force de vie et de passion. Et s'il s'est accompagné d'un combo de luxe où Dave Binney le dispute à Donny McCaslin ( deux fameux clients aussi) c'est pour leur offrir de magnifiques compositions sur lesquelles ces deux soufflants savent y faire dans le genre allumeurs d’incendies au cœur tendre, attisant le groove avec de félines manières (Uprising And Revolutions). Les compositions du batteur sont un peu inégales et si l’on se serait bien passés d’un morceau anecdotique comme Minotauro on rentre en revanche à fond dans cette énergie presque pop sur New Life où Antonio Sanchez se transforme en Keith Moon (le batteur de The Who) avec ce morceau à tiroirs qui évolue en cours de route de manière surprenante. C’est une composition que Pat Metheny aurait très bien pu revendiquer quant aux richesses harmoniques qu’il recèle. Mais il y a aussi des rythmes latins qui viennent s’inviter à la fête avec Medusa qui donne l’occasion d’un bel échange entre John Escreet, David Binney et Donny McCaslin ou encore ce très funky The Real Mc Daddy endiablé.
Encore une fois, avec cet album Antonio Sanchez confirme bien qu’il est l’un des véritables pivots de la scène du jazz américain. A l’instar d’autres comme Miguel Zenón, il apporte la démonstration de la vivacité de cette musique qui ne cesse d’évoluer avec pour maître mot le sens du groove. Sur ce terrain-là, Antonio Sanchez donne une véritable leçon.

5/3/2013lesdnj.com Jean-Marc Gelin
Antonio Sánchez llega con ‘New Life’ a Guadalajara

Desde Nueva York, en medio de una nevada, el baterista extraña el clima de Guadalajara. En unos cuantos días, promete a los tapatíos pasar un momento agradable. “Espero que la gente nos de una oportunidad, que venga y nosotros hacemos el resto”, comenta Sánchez. Acompañado del cuarteto Migration Band, el músico presentará New Life, su más reciente álbum, el cual califica como “especial”, porque él compuso toda la música. “El tercero (disco) es cuando los artistas empiezan a encontrar su voz y definitivamente estoy encontrando el camino que más me gusta en cuestión de composición y liderazgo de un grupo”, dice.
El repertorio incluirá los ocho temas del disco, pero asegura que en cuestión de jazz, sólo es una muestra de lo que se puede hacer en vivo. “En este material, a diferencia de los otros, las composiciones son mucho más complejas, siento que está más balanceada la improvisación con la temática”, explica el baterista.
Pero el camino de la composición le significó un reto; es franco al reconocer que le cuesta trabajo sentarse y encontrar la paz mental que necesita para crear. Al final, la música estuvo lista luego de un año y medio de trabajo. “Es un producto bien hecho, estoy siendo completamente sincero conmigo mismo y con el público. No estoy tratando de inventar nada que sienta que no pueda hacer”.
Sin embargo, sabe que el jazz tiene un poco de mala fama y tiene su teoría: “La gente está un poco asustada, tiene miedo de qué es lo que va a escuchar, me parece que la razón principal es porque no está acostumbrada, es un tipo de música que no escucha en la radio, ni ve en la televisión, y en publicaciones, sólo que sean muy especializadas”. Su propuesta se inclina a hacer música accesible con mucho ritmo y melodía, “cuando manejas esos dos elementos de una manera inteligente, puedes hacer música compleja y le va a gustar al público de cualquier manera”, dijo Sánchez.
Antonio Sánchez se presentará en la Perla Tapatía en el marco de la 1er. Campaña de Procuración de Fondos de la Fundación Tónica A.C. La cita es el próximo 13 de marzo, a las 20:00 horas, en el Teatro Degollado. El mismo día, pero a las 12:00 horas, impartirá una clínica en la Academia de Música Fermatta, dirigida a bateristas y músicos en general, donde compartirá su experiencia personal en el mundo del jazz.

5/3/2013 Rolling Stone Mexico Vania Hernandez
New Life Antonio Sanchez

Antonio Sanchez, Pat Metheny’s drummer of choice, is steadily building his presence as a leader and up to now he’s made clear his taste for two-saxophone lineups sans chordal instrument. His debut Migration featured tenor saxophonists Chris Potter and David Sanchez; his two-disc follow-up Live In New York paired Sanchez with alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón. On New Life, the roster shifts to Donny McCaslin on tenor and David Binney on alto. All of the above are formidable leaders in their own right.
Part of what makes New Life new is the inclusion of a pianist, the budding master John Escreet, who plays on all eight tracks of an all-original program. The harmony flows and shifts and expands, whether it’s the pastoral waltz feel of “Nighttime Story” (with a deft McCaslin quote of “Blues on the Corner”), the churning 7/4 minor modal flavor of the opening “Uprisings and Revolutions” or the more elusive Rhodes sonority of “Minotauro” and “The Real McDaddy”. Singing melodies, big statements, deceptive endings, an urge toward more development and variation: this is Sanchez’ writing voice, buoyed in every way by his approach as a drummer, complex and yet flawlessly in the pocket.
“Medusa” and “Family Ties” stand out as widely contrasting and beautifully played. “Air”, a dark and mystical ballad with soprano sax (though no soprano credit appears on the sleeve), is one of Escreet’s key moments - not just his rubato introduction but his dramatic impact with the sparest and most ambiguous whole-note chords.
Sanchez is after something altogether different with the title track, a 14-minute opus with marked emphasis on the layered wordless vocals of Thana Alexa (the leader’s fiancée). His experience in the Pat Metheny Group, widely known for its wordless vocal textures and soaring sonic expanses, has to be relevant here, but the drummer is fresh and not imitative in his approach. Even if the result has its indulgent side, it still showcases the band’s emotional power and unified purpose.

1/3/2013The New York City Jazz RecordDavid R. Adler
Antonio Sanchez, New Life

The much-anticipated recording, New Life, (CAM Jazz) from the forceful and swinging drummer Antonio Sanchez delivers an expansive program rich in musical textures and a palpable group sound. Sanchez brings together an ensemble of peers (tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin and alto player David Binney, bassist Matt Brewer) and the insightful young British pianist John Escreet, an up and coming musician who infuses Sanchez's compositions with requisite drama and a lot of positivity. Sanchez, a three time Grammy® winner with two previous solo recordings, has been guitarist Pat Metheny's main collaborator over the last 13 years, which gives the drummer's originals a sweeping sense of storytelling -- the charts favor Binney and McCaslin playing in unison, providing a harmonious luster that reveals the power of Sanchez's compositions. The tunes take their time, most stretching beyond 8 minutes, which empower the musicians to freely explore the full range of their talents.
The close association with Metheny (who also provides the liner notes) is evident on tracks like "Uprisings and Revolutions," originally a ballad that was rescaled by Sanchez in wake of the Arab Spring, and continues on "Minotauro" and "Medusa," two mythological inspired tunes with impressive structures. Escreet's Rhodes solo on the former is brilliantly nuanced and soulful. Sanchez also knows of writing music as an event. Like Metheny's work, the album's centerpiece is a majestic and melodious tour de force -- the title track "New Life" illustrates what a great composer can do when matched with equally attuned musicians who have the emotional intellect to fulfill Sanchez's vision. Vocalist Thana Alexander provides an aural counterpoint to the lustrous horns, blending and bending her voice to the propulsive steam from Sanchez's kit and there's a resounding joy in her range that lifts this tune way up. Sanchez allows the tune’s flow to calm midway through, where the glitter of Escreet's piano notes fall to a whisper to give way to a magisterial solo. Bassist Brewer shines as well, shepherding Sanchez's melody with a graceful sureness. Also noteworthy, "The Real McDaddy" inserts a choice bit of fun and funk into the playlist (this tune like the others were work-shopped at small venues like NYC's Bar 55, where I initially heard this band play prior to being recorded.) Sanchez is a remarkable drummer and the modernistic "New Life" is an inspiring and affirming effort that gives much on each successive listen.

27/2/2013Jazz In SpaceNick Bewsey
New Life

Elite jazz drummers weren’t always presumed to be capable composers. There was a time, not too long ago, when such an idea might have prompted a rash of musicianly smirks. But in 2007, when Antonio Sanchez released “Migration,” his first album on the Cam Jazz label, it was no surprise to encounter his nimble writing for a post-bop combo, distinguished by intricate rhythm and the bright swagger of a dual-saxophone front line.
Why the shift in perspective? For one thing, more youngish musicians like Mr. Sanchez, now 41, had begun to make their presence known by then. For another, the melodic connotation of his drumming — notably with the guitarist Pat Metheny, in a range of settings — had seemed to foretell a compositional ken. That was reconfirmed by his second album, “Live in New York at Jazz Standard,” an extension of, and improvement on, the first.
“New Life” pushes yet further, showcasing Mr. Sanchez’s writing more pointedly than either previous release, with eight pieces of specific shape and emotional intent. His band still has two saxophonists — David Binney on alto, and Donny McCaslin on tenor, as has been the case for a while — but it also now involves an assertive pianist, John Escreet. (On bass, playing more than a strictly supportive role, is Matt Brewer.)
The addition of a chordal instrument means that Mr. Sanchez doesn’t have to map out his harmony in blueprint form, as an arrangement of lines. He’s free to use color and shade.
The album’s opener, “Uprising and Revolutions,” begins in a restive rubato before it grinds into gear, seven beats to the bar. The title track employs a similar metric pattern but with a sensation of openness and drift, only gradually gaining steam; its melody is first articulated in octaves by Mr. Escreet and the vocalist Thana Alexa, scat singing in a kind of new-jazz Esperanto.
The feel of the tune, as it billows out for a bracing tenor solo and a multi-tracked curtain of vocals, calls nothing to mind more than “Motherland,” an ambitious concept album released by the pianist Danilo Pérez in 2000. (Mr. Sanchez appeared on that album, so he must know that it’s a bold evocation.)
But because complexity and dynamism seem to come naturally to Mr. Sanchez — another gleaming example here is “Medusa,” with its tricky polyrhythmic overlay — the truest indication of his seriousness rests with songs that seem, on first blush, like simple vessels.
Among them are “Air,” a spare and wistful ballad, and “Nighttime Story,” a slow-crawl jazz-gospel tune. “Family Ties,” the closer, treads a middle ground between flash and lyricism, coming across as both a culmination and another arrow pointing forward.

26/2/2013New York TimesNate Chinen
Drummer Sanchez leads a talented team on ‘New Life’

It is no wonder “New Life” is such a good album. Under the lead of drummer Antonio Sanchez, the album also features Dave Binney and Donny McCaslin, two of the most steadily developing saxophonists in jazz. The album is made up of originals by Sanchez that are structured largely around the work of altoist Binney and McCaslin on tenor. Together, they provide a full sound that belies them as only two players. Binney's alto is distinctly crisp and blends well with the lighter tenor style of McCaslin. Both offer great solos in addition to good ensemble work. The style of the songs moves from a John Coltrane-ish “Uprisings and Revolutions” through a neo-bop “The Real McDaddy” to the title track, which has a Pat Metheny feel with a wordless vocal by Thana Alexa. Sanchez's work with Metheny makes the nature of that song no surprise. The drummer showed he was capable of a great deal in his Metheny work and proves he is growing as a leader on this album. It is available Tuesday.

23/2/2013TribAlive.com Bob Karlovits