A veteran who has played in the company of Miles Davis and Bob Berg, Bob Malach plays his tenor sax with the warm, tender sensibility not found in many contemporary players. Providing a visionary counterpoint which complements that '50s-styled sound is guitarist Robben Ford, who produces Malach's elegant, yet thoroughly modern release The Searcher (Go Jazz/Bean Bag 555632; 48:45). Ford, along with his Blue Line compatriots Roscoe Beck (bass) and Tom Brechtlein (drums) provide solid support on classic jazz-meets-rockin' soul tracks like "Go Tell Mel," on which Malach spirals his head off, and the swaggering, anthemic "The Philly Blues." Surprising combinations abound, such as the elegant piano falls, drip-drawling bass and raging, spin-off percussion swirling around Malach's lithe melody on "Face." Malach's Coltrane side shows on the rich ballad, "Circles," as well as a pair of duets with smoky-voiced Andy Bey-"You Don't Know What Love is"and Ellington's "Come Sunday," given a touching gospel effect by a pristine woodwind chorale. What the Searcher finds is that spacious, creative arrangements combined with warm, deeply felt instrumental performances are a great combination.