Christian Sands is a contemporary jazz pianist whose expositions reveal he is a disciple of the midcentury jazz tradition. His style is delicate, and his arrangements demonstrate a keen sense of space and sonic instinct.
Normally, when it comes to jazz, one of my peeves is when a pop or rock song is covered. Much of the time, the end result sounds to me like silly Muzak you hear in the waiting room of your dentist's office or at the shopping mall department store during Christmas. (Shopping Malls...remember those?) For this reason, I prefer jazz and popular music rarely marry.
'Can't Find My Way Home' is the rare exception to my mantra. As a classic rock adherent in my junior and senior high school days, I listened endlessly to Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and Ginger Baker jam on the supergroup's self-titled Blind Faith album. When it was recently recommended to me I check out Sands' rendition of the Winwood penned 'Can't Find My Way Home,' I was skeptical. But I am glad I gave it a chance, because I feel it is one of the best jazz covers of a classic rock song I have ever heard.
Sands' version is a slow burn. But if you have the patience and wherewithal to let yourself go and truly, actively LISTEN, the payoff is wonderful. His arrangement translates the technical mastery of the rock original's guitar bars and percussion to piano brilliantly. It gently embraces the original's rawness without getting consumed by it. The change-ups are seductive. Just take a listen at approximately the five-minute mark, and you will truly hear and feel what I mean. I get lost in this song every time I hear it.
You can listen to the audio stream to 'Can't Find My Way Home' in the music player below. But if you have 15 minutes to spare, you can watch a recent live performance from a club in Baltimore recorded in November of 2020 here if you want to see how Sands, and bandmates Ryan Sands and Yasushi Nakamura, truly jive.