Jazz Legend David Sanborn Tribute

One of the most popular and versatile jazz saxophone players of the last six decades, David Sanborn will be greatly missed. David Sanborn was born in 1945 in Tampa, Florida and passed away due to cancer on May 12, 2024 at age 78 in Tarrytown, New York. He was one of the most commercially successful American saxophonists to earn prominence. Sanborn was described by music critic Scott Yanow as “the most influential saxophonist of pop, R&B, and [jazz] crossover players” (Allmusic). He was one of the most sought after studio session sidemen in the industry.

Sanborn and Bob James play Maputo

His style was laid back, funky, romantic, as well as high energy straight jazz. He did not like being associated with the pop music genre called ‘smooth jazz’. He performed with many of the leading music artists in the industry in the genres of jazz, fusion jazz, blues, pop, lounge, and R&B. He received six Grammy Awards with 16 nominations and five Billboard #1 Jazz Hit albums. He had eight Gold Albums and one Platinum Album. He produced 25 albums and was a sideman on 185 albums by other artists.

Sanborn plays Straight to the Heart.

As a teen Sanborn got his start playing blues with Albert King and in the 1960s was a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and played with them at Woodstock. In the 1970s he performed as a sideman with BB King, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, James Taylor, James Brown, Paul Simon, Eagles, Elton John, Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, Stealy Dan, Grateful Dead, and many others. He was also a member of the Saturday Night Live TV show band.

Saxophonist David Sanborn Dead at 78 of Prostate Cancer

His career shifted to jazz and he worked with The Becker Brothers, Ron Carter, Bob James, George Benson, Gil Evans, Tony Williams, Manhattan Transfer, Maynard Ferguson, Charlie Hayden, Jack DeJonnette, Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, Flora Purim, and others. Sanborn formed a jazz band with George Duke and Marcus Miller. They recorded many albums and performed concerts together.

Sanborn plays Chicago Song.

Later on he performed with Miles Davis, the Rolling Stones, Al Jarreau, John McLaughlin, Cassandra Wilson, Billy Joel, The Who, Sting, Christian McBride and others. Eric Clapton performed in concert with Sanborn and was a sideman on many of his albums.

Sanborn had a late night TV show called “Night Music” which featured major jazz and blues artists such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Rollins, Lou Reed, Jean Luc Ponty, Santana, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Curtis Mayfield, and many others. He also had a jazz syndicated radio show “The Jazz Show” and a Youtube channel “Sanborn Sessions”.

David Sanborn, Grammy-winning saxophonist who played on hundreds of albums,  dies at 78

Sanborn performed at many jazz clubs, jazz festivals, special concerts, appeared in films and TV shows, and composed music for many films and TV shows. His career continued up to the time of his death in 2024. In an interview he stated, “If you shut out music because it doesn’t fit your preconceived listening patterns, you’re cheating yourself,” he said. “Opera, country, outside music, commercial music … if you like it, it’s good. If it has meaning, use it.” (LA Times).

Sanborn is survived by his wife Alice Soyer Sandborn and their son Jonathan Sanborn, along with his two sisters and two grandchildren.

Sanborn plays Brazilian Love Affair.

David Sanborn award winning albums

Hideaway, Warner Bros.,1980, Billboard Jazz #2 Hit

Voyeur, Warner Bros., 1981, Billboard Jazz #1 Hit, Grammy

As We Speak, Warner Bros., 1982, Billboard Jazz #1 Hit

Backstreet, Warner Bros., 1983, Billboard Jazz #1 Hit

Straight to the Heart, Warner Bros., 1984, Billboard Jazz #1 Hit, Grammy

Double Vision with Bob James, Warner Bros., 1986, Billboard Jazz #1 Hit, Grammy

Inside, Elektra, 1999, Grammy

Sanborn plays Pyramid





LA Times

New York Times



Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood, founder of AOIDE Bruce J. Wood has worked on Wall Street in business finance and strategy, and has written hundreds of finance business plans, strategic plans, economic feasibility studies, and economic impact studies. Bruce has lectured on creativity and strategic thinking, as well as worked on the development of numerous publishing, film, television, and performing arts projects, along with downtown revitalizations, using the arts as an economic catalyst. As an aficionado of music, art, and dance, Bruce is also a writer and an outdoor enthusiast. He has written poetry, blogs, articles, and many creative project concepts. He lives in the Metro Detroit area and enjoys writing poetry, backpacking, and ballroom dancing.

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