“This is an important
record for me and I put everything into it. There were no
compromises,” said guitarist Les Sabler about his fourth album,
Sweet Drive. You can take these words seriously.
Montreal born Les
Sabler soon recognized that a move from Canada to Florida would be
positive for his professional future. A strong fostering was his
graduate studies at the University of Miami Jazz Department. Les'
musical influences are Larry Carlton, George Benson, Lee
Ritenour and Wes Montgomery, but his music also draws from a variety of
other facts outside the guitar realm.
After his debut album
Hidden Treasure (1990) followed Time For Love (1995),
and Bridge The Gap (2003). Although time is getting harder for
all musicians Les' confidence in his talent and success is unbroken.
In 2005 Les received nominations for Best Guitarist and Best Album at
the inaugural Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards. Certainly more important is
the economic success and the recognition of audience. Les is not the
Golden Boy like Robbie Williams, but his steady efforts bear fruit. He
is animated when performing and has shared concert bills with such
artists as Lorber, Spyro Gyra, Richard Elliot, Michael Lington, Diane
Schurr and Fattburger. Les has reached this necessary status of
Les' new album
Sweet Drive (2007) was produced by bass player Brian Bromberg, a
guarantee for quality. Les has only written one song (Food Chain), all
others were composed by other musicians and somehow Sweet Drive
is a journey through music history.
Starting tune is a
sweet rendition of Stevie Wonder's You Got It Bad Girl. Les
Sabler has assembled one of the finest group of top notch musicians.
Eric Marienthal performs together with Les the lead melody on sax,
while Gary Meek paints the decoration on flute. Brian Bromberg
delivers the dark acoustic bass, Jeff Lorber the keys. Vinnie Colaiuta
(drums), Alex Acuna (percussion), Rahsaan Patterson and Toni Sruggs (background
vocals) join this hall of fame.
Allon Sams, one of
the producers of Bridge The Gap, composed the title song
Sweet Drive. Les performs brilliantly like a guitar God. Also
excellent the legendary Seawind horns, on this recording Jerry Hey,
Gary Grant, Bill Reichenbach and Dan Higgins.
was one of the strongest songs, Aretha Franklin wrote and sung in her
long career. The song was first published on her album Young,
Gifted and Black (1971) and later copied by hundreds of artists.
Les' interpretation is without any doubt outstanding and full of great
moments, especially I like Gary Meek's magic flute.
Travis Vega, who just has released his sophomore album Just Let It
Flow (2007), wrote the awesome song Club Street. An up
tune with a hooking potential, best suitable for a single release.
Travis comments: "Club Street was on my first release "Through The
Valley", which was released locally through out California in 2004.
Through a mutual connection, Les heard Club Street, liked it and
wanted to put it on his latest release. Club Street combines,
Chill, Hip-Hop and Cool, to create almost this Funk infused hook,
while the melody sits on top of the groove, giving equal attention to
both. No doubt that Club Street is a toe tapper and is designed for
the stage performance."
Can You Stop The
Rain was a major hit for Peabo Bryson (1991). The vocal part is
featured by Richard Jackson and Toni Scruggs, while Les' nylon-string
guitar is leading the melody to a higher level.
A nice touch of R&B
and smooth jazz delivers Les with I'm Not The Same. Gary Meek
performs with great passion and Rahsaan Patterson and Toni Scruggs do
more than a duty. Rahsaan is just out on the road promoting the
September 25, 2007 release of his new CD, Wines & Spirits. He
also made waves in Europe with some popular Soul collections. Don't
forget his appearance on U-NAM's latest album Back From The 80's.
Struttin' is a
solid guitar session in a tight packet. Time for dreaming do you
find in the appealing ballade Who Am I? Les has a great talent
for expressing feelings through his guitar strings. In perfect contrast
stands the following up tempo Twenty-Two. Les' high energetic
guitar play is answered in Gary Meek's excessive sax performance.
Biggest Part Of Me
was written by David Pack, member of the group Ambrosia, for the
third album One Eighty (1980). It was one of the strongest
ballade of Ambrosia and is certainly worth to be covered in the way
Food Chain is
Les' own composition, a track with a bluesy mood. The Seawind Horns
and Ricky Peterson's B3 convey that imagination of the 70's. Pianist and guitarist
Rocky Ramirez, who is in the moment building his own career with
smooth Soul and R&B songs, has written the tender Could You Be.
Les has so much soul in his guitar performance.
The closing track is
an instrumental version of Daydreaming. Much space for all LA
musicians to shine.
With all these top
notch musicians from the LA scene Les Sabler cannot do wrong. He
delivers finest smooth jazz artwork perfectly designed for your hi-fi