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Brandon Sanders|Compton's Finest

Compton's Finest

Brandon Sanders

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You may not hear a more tasteful, delightfully hard-swinging jazz album in 2023 than drummer Brandon Sanders' debut, Compton's Finest. A leading sideman since moving to New York in the early 2000s, Sanders has distinguished himself playing alongside such luminaries as Mike LeDonne, Joe Lovano, and Jeremy Pelt, among many others. Before all that, he grew up on the West Coast in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, where he first developed a passion for jazz. It's an association he shares with the album's producer, drummer Willie Jones III, who also grew up in Los Angeles and who first made his name in the '90s as member of the group BlackNote, an ensemble whose acoustic post-bop sound has much in common with the style Sanders favors here. Joining Sanders is an adept lineup featuring tenor saxophonist Chris Lewis, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Keith Brown, and bassist Eric Wheeler. Together, they play with a light yet locked-in touch that is the epitome of swinging, straight-ahead jazz. Saxophonist Lewis has a fuzzy, burnished tone that brings to mind Dexter Gordon, especially on standards like the opening "Softly, as a Morning Sunrise" and the propulsive take on Kenny Barron's "Voyage." They also offer a gorgeously languid reading of "Body and Soul" that has the breezy, candlelit romanticism of a dinner by the beach. Also adding a romantic sophistication is vocalist Jazzmeia Horn who jumps on board for a sparkling, Latin-inflected rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Can't Help It" and a dusky "In a Sentimental Mood." Sanders also excels as a composer, revealing his Philly Joe Jones-esque touch on the slinky title track's blues and evoking the crisp hard bop grooves of Billy Higgins on the album closer, "SJB."
© Matt Collar /TiVo

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Compton's Finest

Brandon Sanders

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1
Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise
00:03:43

Keith Brown, Contributor, Piano - Chris Lewis, Contributor, TenorSaxophone - Oscar Hammerstein II , Composer - Sigmund Romberg, Composer - Willie Jones III, Producer - David Darlington, MasteringEngineer - Warren Wolf, Contributor, Vibraphone - Aaron Nevezie, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Eric Wheeler, Contributor, UprightBass - Brandon Sanders, Drums, MainArtist - Barney Fields, ExecutiveProducer

2023 Savant Records, Inc. 2023 Savant Records, Inc.

2
Compton's Finest
00:05:10

Keith Brown, Contributor, Piano - Chris Lewis, Contributor, TenorSaxophone - Willie Jones III, Producer - David Darlington, MasteringEngineer - Warren Wolf, Contributor, Vibraphone - Aaron Nevezie, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Eric Wheeler, Contributor, UprightBass - Brandon Sanders, Composer, Drums, MainArtist - Barney Fields, ExecutiveProducer

2023 Savant Records, Inc. 2023 Savant Records, Inc.

3
I Can't Help It
00:05:30

Keith Brown, Contributor, Piano - Chris Lewis, Contributor, TenorSaxophone - Stevie Wonder, Composer - Willie Jones III, Producer - David Darlington, MasteringEngineer - Warren Wolf, Contributor, Vibraphone - Aaron Nevezie, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Eric Wheeler, Contributor, UprightBass - Jazzmeia Horn, FeaturedArtist, VocalSolo - Brandon Sanders, Drums, MainArtist - Barney Fields, ExecutiveProducer

2023 Savant Records, Inc. 2023 Savant Records, Inc.

4
Voyage
00:05:06

Keith Brown, Contributor, Piano - Chris Lewis, Contributor, TenorSaxophone - Kenny Barron, Composer - Willie Jones III, Producer - David Darlington, MasteringEngineer - Warren Wolf, Contributor, Vibraphone - Aaron Nevezie, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Eric Wheeler, Contributor, UprightBass - Brandon Sanders, Drums, MainArtist - Barney Fields, ExecutiveProducer

2023 Savant Records, Inc. 2023 Savant Records, Inc.

5
Body and Soul
00:04:54

Keith Brown, Contributor, Piano - Chris Lewis, Contributor, TenorSaxophone - Edward Heyman, Composer - Robert Sour, Composer - Johnny Green, Composer - Willie Jones III, Producer - David Darlington, MasteringEngineer - Warren Wolf, Contributor, Vibraphone - Aaron Nevezie, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Eric Wheeler, Contributor, UprightBass - Brandon Sanders, Drums, MainArtist - Barney Fields, ExecutiveProducer

2023 Savant Records, Inc. 2023 Savant Records, Inc.

6
Monk's Dream
00:06:07

Keith Brown, Contributor, Piano - Chris Lewis, Contributor, TenorSaxophone - Thelonious Monk, Composer - Willie Jones III, Producer - David Darlington, MasteringEngineer - Warren Wolf, Contributor, Vibraphone - Aaron Nevezie, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Eric Wheeler, Contributor, UprightBass - Brandon Sanders, Drums, MainArtist - Barney Fields, ExecutiveProducer

2023 Savant Records, Inc. 2023 Savant Records, Inc.

7
In a Sentimental Mood
00:04:30

Keith Brown, Contributor, Piano - Chris Lewis, Contributor, TenorSaxophone - Edward Ellington, Composer - Willie Jones III, Producer - David Darlington, MasteringEngineer - Warren Wolf, Contributor, Vibraphone - Aaron Nevezie, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Eric Wheeler, Contributor, UprightBass - Jazzmeia Horn, FeaturedArtist, VocalSolo - Brandon Sanders, Drums, MainArtist - Barney Fields, ExecutiveProducer

2023 Savant Records, Inc. 2023 Savant Records, Inc.

8
SJB
00:04:24

Keith Brown, Contributor, Piano - Chris Lewis, Contributor, TenorSaxophone - Willie Jones III, Producer - David Darlington, MasteringEngineer - Warren Wolf, Contributor, Vibraphone - Aaron Nevezie, MixingEngineer, RecordingEngineer - Eric Wheeler, Contributor, UprightBass - Brandon Sanders, Composer, Drums, MainArtist - Barney Fields, ExecutiveProducer

2023 Savant Records, Inc. 2023 Savant Records, Inc.

Album review

You may not hear a more tasteful, delightfully hard-swinging jazz album in 2023 than drummer Brandon Sanders' debut, Compton's Finest. A leading sideman since moving to New York in the early 2000s, Sanders has distinguished himself playing alongside such luminaries as Mike LeDonne, Joe Lovano, and Jeremy Pelt, among many others. Before all that, he grew up on the West Coast in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, where he first developed a passion for jazz. It's an association he shares with the album's producer, drummer Willie Jones III, who also grew up in Los Angeles and who first made his name in the '90s as member of the group BlackNote, an ensemble whose acoustic post-bop sound has much in common with the style Sanders favors here. Joining Sanders is an adept lineup featuring tenor saxophonist Chris Lewis, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Keith Brown, and bassist Eric Wheeler. Together, they play with a light yet locked-in touch that is the epitome of swinging, straight-ahead jazz. Saxophonist Lewis has a fuzzy, burnished tone that brings to mind Dexter Gordon, especially on standards like the opening "Softly, as a Morning Sunrise" and the propulsive take on Kenny Barron's "Voyage." They also offer a gorgeously languid reading of "Body and Soul" that has the breezy, candlelit romanticism of a dinner by the beach. Also adding a romantic sophistication is vocalist Jazzmeia Horn who jumps on board for a sparkling, Latin-inflected rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Can't Help It" and a dusky "In a Sentimental Mood." Sanders also excels as a composer, revealing his Philly Joe Jones-esque touch on the slinky title track's blues and evoking the crisp hard bop grooves of Billy Higgins on the album closer, "SJB."
© Matt Collar /TiVo

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