Bob James, David Sanborn: Quartette Humaine (2013)

Quartette Humaine

Track list:

01. You Better Not Go to College
02. Geste Humaine
03. Sofia
04. Follow Me
05. My Old Flame
06. Another Time, Another Place
07. Montezuma
08. Genvieve
09. Deep in the Weeds
10. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
11. Maputo


David Sanborn – alto sax, soprano sax, sopranino sax;
Bob James – keyboards;
James Genus – bass;
Steve Gadd – drums;
Javier Díaz – percussion (#9)

Recorded: December 2012
Released: May 12, 2013.
Label: Okeh

Producer: Bob James, David Sanborn
Engineer: Ken Freeman, Dean Sharenow
Mixing: Ken Freeman

Mastering: Greg Calbi

Art Direction, Design, Photography: Hollis King
Graphic Design: Isabelle Wong


Quartette Humaine, a new collaborative effort between keyboardist-composer-arranger Bob James and alto saxophonist David Sanborn, (released by OKeh on May 21, 2013).

Their first new recording together since 1986’s Double Vision, the all-acoustic quartet album pays tribute to the late Dave Brubeck, particularly his work that featured alto saxophonist Paul Desmond.

Quartette Humaine features four new compositions by James, three by Sanborn and two James-arranged covers (“My Old Flame,” “Geste Humain”). Drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus round out the group.


One of the first releases on the resurrected Okeh Records imprint, 2013’s Quartette Humaine features pianist Bob James and saxophonist David Sanborn performing a set of mostly original songs that walk the line between funky contemporary jazz and more thoughtful post-bop.

It’s also the first collaboration between the two giants of contemporary jazz since their 1986 Grammy Award-winning album Double Vision.

However, rather than re-visit that album’s funk and smooth jazz leanings, here James and Sanborn summon the spirit of the legendary Dave Brubeck quartet featuring saxophonist Paul Desmond.

While they don’t play any Brubeck songs, the album was recorded with Brubeck’s adventurous, often challenging acoustic jazz spirit in mind.

Sanborn also wanted to move away from the hemmed-in studio sound both artists were known for and investigate a live-in-studio approach that allowed for more unexpected improvisational situations.

For his part, Sanborn benefits from the more freewheeling style and showcases an earthy, blues-oriented sax sound that brings to mind such influences as Hank Crawford and David “Fathead” Newman.

Joining the duo are drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus, whose compelling rhythmic choices and more than technically proficient chops are a perfect match for James and Sanborn.

These are classy, no-nonsense songs that allow both of these jazz superstars to stretch themselves past what any existing fan might have thought of as their limit.