Jazz Album of the Week: On a Shadow Train with Sachal Vasandani
September 3, 2018. Vocalist Sachal Vasandani has proven himself to be the king of “not-so-standard standards.” His ability to interpret, and breathe life into underutilized lyrics have made him a standout in the jazz scene. Shadow Train is Sachal, once again, doing what he does best. The killer band just adds to his splendor.
“Throw It Away” is a prime example. Abbey Lincoln (another purveyor of the “not-so- standard”) wrote this one. Sachal adds a haunting element with the addition of guest guitarist Nir Felder. Yet the arrangement and delivery do justice to Lincoln’s masterpiece without copycatting.
Felder accompanies again on “Day In, Day Out,” which also includes some usually off-putting (to me, anyway) reverb. On this tune though, it works.
Another skill that elevates Sachal to king-like status, is putting together a killer band to enhance his projects. With Taylor Eigsti on piano, Eric Harland on drums and Reuben Rogers playing bass, the creative possibilities for this album were through the roof, and these guys were able to execute. They even turned the Bee Gee’s “To Love Somebody” into a jazz ballad!
Shadow Train includes some more familiar songs as well, like “Unforgettable,” which features saxophonist Dayna Stephens.
With this mix of the unexpected and familiar, be prepared to hear these pieces performed in a way unlike any other.