Photo: Noticaribe

Iconic Saxophonist David Sanborn: Dead At 78

Superstar saxophonist, David Sanborn, whose outstanding horn work spanned pop, R&B, jazz and more, passed away on Sunday (5.12) following a battle from prostate cancer. He was 78 years old.

In a statement on the musician’s social media accounts “It is with sad and heavy hearts that we convey to you the loss of internationally renowned, 6 time Grammy Award-winning, saxophonist, David Sanborn.” “Mr. Sanborn passed Sunday afternoon, May 12th, after an extended battle with prostate cancer with complications.”

Originally diagnosed in 2018, David continued performing until recently. “Indeed he already had concerts scheduled into 2025,” the statement concluded. “David Sanborn was a seminal figure in contemporary pop and jazz music. It has been said that he ‘put the saxophone back into Rock ’n Roll.’”

Born in Tampa, Florida, Sanborn grew up in Missouri where he began playing the saxophone as part of his recovery after contracting polio at the age of three.

According to his website biography “By the age of 14, he was able to play with legends such as Albert King and Little Milton,” “Dave went on to study music at Northwestern University before transferring to the University of Iowa where he played and studied with the great saxophonist JR Monterose.”

Sanborn subsequently joined the Butterfield Blues Band and played Woodstock with Paul Butterfield and his career took off when he was the touring saxophone player with Stevie Wonder, recording on Wonder’s “Talking Book” album, playing with The Rolling Stones, and touring with David Bowie.

Along with his stand out work on Bowie’s “Young Americans,” David’s other collaborations include Paul Simon and James Taylor.

In 1975, Sanborn released “Taking Off,” his debut solo album, followed by “Hideaway,” in 1979 and his subsequent full lengths featured contributions from Luther Vandross, Christian McBride, Eric Clapton and more.

1981 David won his first Grammy Award for best R&B instrumental performance for “All I Need Is You” and he would go on to win five more such trophies, earn eight gold and, one platinum album and tour successfully for decades.

In March 2024, the legendary saxophonist was honored in St. Louis for his lifetime achievement in jazz where Sanborn said at the time “I’m so glad I am alive to receive this.”  “I am deeply grateful and amazingly honored to receive this award in my hometown of St. Louis.”

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Noticaribe