"A CHANGE of Heart," the title of David Sanborn's new album, doesn't herald any real changes. The saxophonist is still aiming at the pop charts, still adding his piercing alto to an R&B groove.
The groove, though, is a little deeper than it's been in the past. Working with producer Marcus Miller, pianist Mac (Dr. John) Rebenack, percussionist Mino Cinelu and others, Sanborn has come up with several strong dance tracks and the pretty ballad "Imogene." Mind you, you're not likely to trade in your Junior Walker albums after hearing the funky "High Roller" or the electronic drum-powered "Tintin," but it's hard not to be impressed with Sanborn's cutting tone or the album's overall polish and drive.
Like Sanborn, the Nylons are clearly indebted to some familiar pop traditions, namely doo-wop and a cappella groups. Using only their voices and percussion instruments, the quartet displays a cheery, somewhat nostalgic sound on its new album "Happy Together." Too bad its choice of material tends to be either obvious ("Chain Gang") or banal (the album's title tune) or derivative ("Grown Man Cry"). A group that lacks the harmonic bearing of Manhattan Transfer, the soulfulness of the Persuasions or the wit of the Bobs needs more than just tight harmonies. Maybe next time.
DAVID SANBORN -- "A Change of Heart" (Warner Bros. 25479-1).
THE NYLONS -- "Happy Together" (Open Air 0A-0306). Both appearing Friday at Merriweather Post Pavilion.