• May 17, 2024
  • Rydr
  • 0


Mournful melodies ring out from the world of jazz, as the celebrated saxophonist, David Sanborn, affectionately known for his rousing solos in David Bowie’s “Young Americans” and James Taylor’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” has fallen silent. At the age of 78, the Grammy-winning saxophonist, distinguished for his melodic, contemporary jazz offerings, bid his final goodbye.

Sanborn’s journey to the celestial jazz band took place on a quiet Sunday in the quaint town of Tarrytown, New York. His envoy to the other side was the relentless adversary known as prostate cancer, laying siege to his mortality.

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Renowned pianist, Bob James, who co-created the Grammy-winning “Double Vision” album with Sanborn, poured his heartbreak onto his Facebook page. He mused fondly on his privilege of sharing the grandest moments of his career with Sanborn, and acknowledged the enduring legacy evident in every note that the saxophonist coaxed from his instrument – notes so rich with passion, they could make the most pedestrian melody acquire an extraordinary verve.

The world of jazz is seldom conducive to widespread recognition for a saxophone player, but Sanborn was an exception. His litany of achievements included the release of eight gold albums and one platinum; frequent appearances with Paul Shaffer’s “Late Night With David Letterman” band; and co-hosting “Night Music,” a show that flaunted appearances by industry giants such as Miles Davis, Eric Clapton, Lou Reed, and more.

Born in Tampa, Florida, Sanborn was introduced to the saxophone during his childhood after a fierce battle with polio. A medic’s recommendation that he exercises his lungs led him to this path. While still a teenager, the prodigious talent was sharing stages with the blues legends Albert King and Little Milton. All this eventually snowballed into him joining the ranks of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which featured an unforgettable set at the Woodstock festival in 1969.

Sanborn’s presence resonated through the decades. From the 1970s, right through the twilight of his career, he was one of the busiest musicians on the circuit. Dozens of top artists clamored for a chance to tap into his superb talent as a session player – a roster that included Bowie, Taylor, the Rolling Stones, and Stevie Wonder. His remarkable catalog included over 20 solo albums, with the Grammy gems “Straight to the Heart” and “Double Vision” standing out. Not even a cancer diagnosis in 2018 could dampen his spirit, as he continued to perform and even had concerts planned for the following year.

The loss of David Sanborn is like a poignant note that lingers in silence, but his music will echo forever in the rich tapestry of jazz. His passion for transforming an ordinary tune into something extraordinary will forever inspire both jazz enthusiasts and fellow musicians alike.



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