Back in 1990, and following the release of his debut recording ‘Hidden Treasure’, guitarist Les Sabler had based himself in the sunny climes of Sarasota, FL. He was performing there with his band whilst laying down tracks in Richard Elliot’s Tampa studio for what he expected to be his second CD. However, in the event, the project was abandoned; the tapes went into storage and stayed there. That was until recently when Sabler, in collaboration with producer and keyboard player Allon Sams, returned to the studio to complete what had begun nineteen years ago. The result is the excellent ‘Crescent Shores’ which is out now on Big Deal Records.
Much of the inspiration for the original music came directly from the walks Sabler took along Crescent Beach on Siesta Key. ‘Crescent Shores’ includes some tracks from the original sessions plus several new selections and, much like Sabler’s previous release (the Smooth Jazz Therapy favourite ‘Sweet Drive’), it is a fine blend of original music and innovative covers. In this latter category is Sabler’s sensitive interpretation of the Stevie Wonder classic ‘Overjoyed’ plus his mellow take on Sting’s ‘Fragile’ which evolves into something both soothing and inspiring. Also worthy of note is the Jon Mark composition ‘Lonely Girl’ that merges a laid back groove with Sabler’s under utilised singing voice. Nevertheless, it is with the previously unheard music that the true enchantment of ‘Crescent Shores’ is revealed.
This is noticeably so with what might arguably be the album’s best track, the sumptuous easy grooving title cut, yet equally good is the smokily atmospheric ‘Mirror Of Your Heart’. Written by keyboard player Mark Pettey it affords another opportunity for Sabler’s vocals to really shine whereas elsewhere the Latin infused ‘Island Princess’ proves to be a tune very much in keeping with the sunny disposition of the entire collection.
In similar mood is the whimsical ‘Walfredo’ which features great flute from Steve Gould while the wonderfully structured ‘Market Street’ serves as the perfect platform for Sabler’s picture perfect playing. It’s the sort of music that leaves the listener wanting more and much the same can be said of the hugely inviting, guitar driven, ‘Turn Of The Century’ which is also right up there with the CD’s best. ‘Peace River Suite’ delivers more mid tempo magic that this time is added to by the velvety sax of none other than Richard Elliot and finally the superbly delicate ‘Sunset Serenade’ provides a fitting conclusion to an album for which the description “beautiful” would not be out of place.
For more go to www.lessabler.com