If jazz were cricket and tenor saxophonists batsmen, the way the opening ball of the over would be played would be crucial in determining the game's development. James Carter - Sanchez's contemporary, playing for Warners while Dave bats for Sony - approached it with his bat held at head height, going for sixes from the off. Sanchez, by contrast, sized up the wicket and built his first solo with sensible strokes. When the first six-hit arrived it had been worked for and was therefore all the more effective.
Though he does tend towards repeated patterns, and he plays with a fairly neutral tone, Sanchez is wonderfully expressive. Less Latin jazz than funked-up bop of the type to be found on a mid-Sixties Joe Henderson album, his music fits effortlessly into the classic template of contemporary acoustic jazz. The drummer's cymbals ring, the rimshots snap, and the double-bass plods steadfastly around the beat like an old-fashioned policeman on point-duty. The pianist Eric Reed - who is something of a star in his own right - never pushes the pulse unnecessarily, and veers from sympathetic comping to double-time Cuban rumbas with an easy grace. Richie Flores, the percussionist, is so good that he could almost give his profession a bad name, for he uses a limited kit and knows when to lay out.
They only played one ballad, a Puerto Rican lament that sounded like "Misty", and it was so moving that you could almost sense the slender audience putting their heads together and smiling ickily in rapt approval. In short, David Sanchez and band are great, and you can still get to see them in their final date tonight.
The Rhythmic, London N1 (0171-713 5859)