David Sancious has made a name for himself as one of the original members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. But he’s more than just working with Bruce himself. He’s also worked and toured with legendary artists including Stanley Clarke, France Gall, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Jack Bruce, Jon Anderson, and Eric Clapton to name a few.
This year, Sancious has released a new album entitled Eyes Wide Open. Clocking in at 34 minutes, this is David showing us the landscape on what has America become. And you as a listener, whether you agree with him or not, David is showing them that there is a dark side underneath the homemade crust of Apple Pie that isn’t pretty. And believe me, it is a place that you do not want to go near.
And to be allowed to feature musicians that include Vinnie Colaiuta (Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, and Tori Amos), Living Colour’s Will Calhoun, and Prince alumni Michael Bland on drums, it’s quite a combination to see these amazing group of people lending David a helping hand. Now before I went ahead and listened to his new album, I had to go back and listen to his previous albums he did between 1975 and 1976.
Both Forest of Feelings and Transformation (The Speed of Love), reissued by Esoteric Recordings in 2014, were kind of like an introduction for me to discover what I was missing behind those rare and unseen treasures that hadn’t been used for a long, long time. Listening to those two albums was showing Sancious to go beyond the Springsteen sound and into the worlds of; Fusion, Soul, Ambient, Classical, Flamenco, and Progressive rock rolled into one big giant burrito.
He took those different styles of music and he put them together by creating this visual style of format on how the pieces should be written and they should be brought to life as if the paintings of the Adoration of the Magi by Leonardo da Vinci was set to this mind-blowing score. Now onto Eyes Wide Open. As I’ve mentioned earlier, David is taking the listener through the dystopian world of the new America.
However, there is David’s return to the roots of Progressive Rock, Jazz Fusion, and Soul as if he’s bringing it to life again with a little touch of a gospel groove thrown into the vocals at times. When you listen to Urban Psalm #3, you can hear the sound of news reporter tackling the issues of racial tension, protesters chanting in the streets, and the voice of Martin Luther King Jr, lifting their spirits to keep fighting the good fight.
The drums, bass, and organ sets up this battle for the prayer on peace for a new tomorrow. And it is only just the beginning. Flip It is David’s answer to Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters-era. He channels the riffs on the opening sequence to Chameleon with a Pastorius and Bluesy tone. But adding the fanfare along with the stop-and-go sections in there, Sancious has it down to a “T”.
And you can tell that he’s having a ball making this track brought to life by bringing down the funk. The opening title-track takes you into the heart of the battle between the peaceful protesters and the police fighting to bring the tension to a halt. Sancious is telling the listener to keep their eyes open on what is happening behind you and be on the look-out for something dangerous that they might throw at you.
The music itself adds the tension between who can you trust on whether they’re telling the truth or they’re wearing a happy-go-lucky mask to reveal their dark secrets on what they’re doing. And Sancious gives his honest idea of what is happening all around the globe.
War in Heaven is this droning yet dooming atmosphere between the drum crescendo’s and then going up to the Heaven’s with a sax keyboard improvisation. Once the pearly gates are closed behind you, turns out that the gods and the political masterminds are butting heads with some heated confrontations than ever before.
Eyes Wide Open is Sancious’ welcoming return to the doors of real good music. It shows that he’s come a long way and there’s not a single stop sign for him. It was quite new to me to discover his music along with his new album. So who knows what David Sancious will think of next, but Eyes Wide Open shows that he is finally coming full circle.