EJ Strickland

David Sanchez Quartet - Saturday night in Montreal

Saxophonist David Sanchez led his group at the Theatre Jean Duceppe. He said he was happy to be with us, the band had had a rough airport day, it had not been fun. (They left Montreal right away on Sunday morning. We journalistes get to stay for several nights; the musicians don't.) But thanks to their persistence, this concert was even more than met the eye.<!--more-->

David sometimes arches his back when he plays, delivering every note with a little thrust. His dynamics and declamatory style make the impression that he's saying something for the one and only time.

The opening sequence was "City Sunrise," "The Forgotten Ones" for New Orleans after Katrina, and "Cultural Survival," the title of Sanchez's most recent album. After that a ballad introduced more harmony with beautiful resolutions (and got even more applause), and there was solo space for bass and drums (wonderful cymbals throughout).

In introducing the group, David commented that sound is everything to him; each player has a beautiful one. Lage Lund is the guitarist, Orlando LaFleming on bass, EJ Strickland on drums. BTW the pure white lighting - from the floor or above, in shafts or hazy - goes with the purity of the sound. The lighting of performances at this festival is a story in itself.

I left before the first encore to try to see Alex Cuba, the Cuban-Canadian vocalist and a new arrival. However, his set was long finished.

In the meantime, my colleagues Michael, Josh and David were all at l'Astral for Ibrahim Maalouf, the Lebanese trumpeter. They loved him, and I had a ticket for Maalouf that I could not use. And this morning a broadcaster from KKJZ in Los Angeles, here in Montreal, said Alex Cuba was fantastic. Montreal is full of conundrums like this.