David Sanborn, talking on the telephone from his home in New York, is beat -- not such a surprise for someone in wide demand, both in the recording studio and on tour.
What is a surprise is that it's not just the traveling that wears at him. This time around, Sanborn's music is also unusually demanding. Unlike the tuneful jazz-pop he has taken on the road before, this outing -- behind his adventurous new album, "Another Hand" -- finds the saxophonist playing straight-up jazz, with a top-notch acoustic band.
And frankly, he says, it's a little intimidating.
"I'm a little bit out of my element," he admits. "I've never really gone out on my own without a guitar player, without electric music. I was thinking back, and I realized that I've done low volume, low intensity stuff before, but not in the last four, five years. Since then, it's been pretty much loud-ass, electric music."
Not that anyone objected to the volume. In fact, Sanborn's 10 rock-edged solo albums -- along with sessions behind such stars as David Bowie, James Taylor and others -- have made him one of the most recognizable saxophonists around. But he was hungry for a challenge, and felt a change in style would provide the musical stimulation he needed.
"I was fighting electric instruments, and I started to feel like I was really repeating myself," he explains. "I wanted to change my context a little bit. So I threw myself into a situation that was a lot different for me. I tried to find the best players I could, actually guys who I'd always wanted to work with and who I've known for years, but had never had the chance to work with."
For the album, Sanborn worked with everyone from old-school jazzmen like Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette and Mulgrew Miller to avant-rockers like Marc Ribot, Terry Adams and Steve Jordan. On the road, however, his sidemen are strictly jazzers: pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Al Foster and percussionist Don Alias.
How do the fans take this change in direction? Surprisingly well, Sanborn says. "It's not that same kind of rock and roll response that you get with electric music," he reports. "But I think part of that is a response to the intensity of the music; with this band, they seem a little more reserved. But they do seem positive -- we come back for an encore."
When: Saturday, Aug. 17, 8 p.m.
Where: Pier Six Concert Pavilion.
Tickets: $25 reserved seating, $19.50 lawn.
Call: 625-1400 for tickets and information.