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Les Sabler: Sweet Drive

Canadian native Les Sabler, a longtime Florida resident, has a guitar style similar to Chuck Loeb and Paul Brown and a breezy but “recorded live” sound that lends punch to his tunes. Produced by bassist Brian Bromberg, Sweet Drive gets ample support from heavy hitters such as Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal and Ricky Peterson, as well as seasoned bottom line help from Alex Acuña and Vinnie Colaiuta. Although there are too many selections and passages lifted from the guitars-and-sax smooth-jazz playbook, overall Sabler creates enough shifting moods to keep things appealing. Plugged-in by nature, Sabler shows his sensitive acoustic on two tunes, “Can You Stop the Rain” and “Who Am I,” that rise above the rest. On his third CD, Sabler played the hell out of a cover song: Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Reasons.” He has less luck here, though, as pretty much all life is sucked out of Ambrosia’s “Biggest Part of Me.” Take 6 did the definitive cover of that tune; it might have worked better here with lead vocals by Rahsaan Patterson, who’s relegated to background duty on the CD. There’s something bubbling under the surface here. But Sabler hasn’t managed to break to the surface just yet.

Originally Published