Premiere: Pianist Christian Sands Continues His Evolution On ‘Drive,’ A Track From ‘Be Water’


Pianist Christian Sands is set to release Be Water on July 17.

(Photo: Anna Webber)

Despite Christian Sands’ clear affinity for Erroll Garner, the pianist’s upcoming release, Be Water, depicts an artist moving well beyond the confines of the jazz tradition.

Expanding on his 2018 album, Facing Dragons, Sands again taps saxophonist Marcus Strickland for assistance on “Drive,” a tune off the upcoming album that premieres below. While the pair clearly are working in a 21st-century mode, a solo from guitarist Marvin Sewell helps the ensemble push toward the edge of genre.

“‘Drive’ is about ambition. It’s about being determined on wherever you’re going,” Sands said. “It’s also about the journey itself, the moves one makes to get to a goal. It’s self-reflection, it’s aspiration, intention and purpose.”

Be Water is set for release through the Mack Avenue label on July 17. DB

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the release date of Be Water. DownBeat regrets the error.

  • Casey_B_2011-115-Edit.jpg

    Benjamin possessed a fluid, round sound on the alto saxophone, and he was often most recognizable by the layers of electronic effects that he put onto the instrument.

  • Charles_Mcpherson_by_Antonio_Porcar_Cano_copy.jpg

    “He’s constructing intelligent musical sentences that connect seamlessly, which is the most important part of linear playing,” Charles McPherson said of alto saxophonist Sonny Red.

  • Albert_Tootie_Heath_2014_copy.jpg

    ​Albert “Tootie” Heath (1935–2024) followed in the tradition of drummer Kenny Clarke, his idol.

  • Geri_Allen__Kurt_Rosenwinkel_8x12_9-21-23_%C2%A9Michael_Jackson_copy.jpg

    “Both of us are quite grounded in the craft, the tradition and the harmonic sense,” Rosenwinkel said of his experience playing with Allen. “Yet I felt we shared something mystical as well.”

  • Larry_Goldings_NERPORT_2023_sussman_DSC_6464_copy_2.jpg

    Larry Goldings’ versatility keeps him in high demand as a leader, collaborator and sideman.

On Sale Now
May 2024
Stefon Harris
Look Inside
Print | Digital | iPad