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Jazz

Christian Sands: Be Water

Be Water
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    • Sonics
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    Pianist Christian Sands came out of the gate with his proverbial wheels screeching. A prodigy who cut his first record at the age of 12, he flashed impressive chops both as a sideman in Christian McBride’s Inside Straight Trio an on his previous three albums as a leader for Mack Avenue. On Be Water, as the Zen-like title might suggest, Sands has learned to relax and let his inherent romanticism come to the fore. That quality is apparent from the outset on “Intro,” an atmospheric prelude to this very ambitious project, and on the restful ballad “Still.” Other tunes like “Sonar” and the lovely waltz-time string quartet piece, “Be Water II,” show a newfound maturity in Sands’ game, revealing a more patient and poetic side. This is not to suggest that Sands keeps his abundance of chops totally in check here. His remarkable facility is showcased on the turbulent burner “Steam,” paced by bassist Yasushi Nakamura’s deep groove and featuring muscular bashing from drummer Clarence Penn, and also on the propulsive “Drive,” with an electrifying guitar solo from Marvin Sewell. An added treat is Sands’ soulful reading of Steve Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.” 

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