Facing Dragons
Review by Willard Manus

The great young pianist/composer, Christian Sands, has just released his third Mack Avenue album, FACING DRAGONS, which is good news for jazz fans everywhere.

Not yet thirty, Sands has toured and recorded with his own band, performed as a sideman for Christian McBride and Gregory Porter, and was just named creative ambassador to The Erroll Garner Jazz Project. On FACING DRAGONS he investigates eight original tunes of his (plus the Beatles' "Yesterday") in a trio format.

With Jerome Jennings on drums and Yasushi Nakamura on bass, Sands shows off his versatility and virtuosity throughout, beginning with the fiery "Fight for Freedom" and concluding with the brief, haunting "Rhodes to Meditation." In between, Sands ventures into gospel, samba, love songs and red-hot grooves, aided by such guests as guitarist Caio Afiune, percussionists Cristian Rivera and Roberto Quintero, trumpeter Keyon Harrold and sax man Marcus Strickland. Together these gifted musicians streak like shooting stars across the jazz heavens.

Recorded at Sear Sound, NY, FACING DRAGONS was produced by Christian Sands, Al Pryor and Gretchen Valade. Sands also did the arrangements.