David Sanborn, influential saxophonist whose work spanned genres, dies at 78


David Sanborn, the influential saxophonist whose Grammy-winning profession included collaborations with Stevie Marvel and David Bowie, has died. He was 78.

Sanborn died Sunday afternoon “after an prolonged battle with prostate most cancers with issues,” his crew stated Monday in an announcement shared to his social media pages. A consultant for Sanborn confirmed the particulars to The Instances.

“Mr. Sanborn had been coping with prostate most cancers since 2018, however had been in a position to preserve his regular schedule of concert events till only in the near past,” his crew stated in an X (previously Twitter) thread. “Certainly he already had concert events scheduled into 2025.”

Sanborn was identified for luxurious saxophone melodies on songs together with “Maputo,” however his sound — knowledgeable by R&B and world funk— and his legacy prolonged far past his jazz roots. Usually perceived as a “clean jazz” artist, Sanborn loathed that time period.

“I typically get looped in with jazz musicians as a result of I play sax and improvise,” Sanborn advised The Instances in 1996. “But when you understand my music, you wouldn’t confuse it with jazz. There are particular stylistic and rhythmic components that maintain me from being in that class.”

Sanborn’s huge roster of elite session work and high-profile collaborators proved his vary of influences. Stevie Marvel, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie had been amongst Sanborn’s collaborators early in his profession. After going solo in 1975, Sanborn labored with musicians together with Paul Simon, James Taylor, Luther Vandross and Eric Clapton, based on his web site.

Amongst pop and R&B followers, Sanborn is finest identified for his work on Marvel’s “Speaking Guide,” Bowie’s “Younger Individuals” and information by Bonnie Raitt and Chaka Khan.

Over the course of his profession, Sanborn earned 16 Grammy Award nominations and 6 wins, together with honors for his albums “Straight to the Coronary heart” and “Double Imaginative and prescient,” a collaboration with keyboardist Bob James. Sanborn launched 25 albums, together with eight that went gold and one which achieved platinum standing.

“David Sanborn was a seminal determine in modern pop and jazz music,” Monday’s statements added. “It has been stated that he ‘put the saxophone again into Rock ’n Roll.’”

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David Sanborn, pictured on the 2022 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Competition, was “a seminal determine in modern pop and jazz music,” his crew stated in a press release.

(Amy Harris / Invision / Related Press)

Sanborn’s ardour for the saxophone might be traced again to his childhood, when he contracted polio as a toddler and music was a part of his therapy. By the point he graduated from the College of Iowa, Sanborn had performed with guitarist Albert King and studied with studied saxophonist J.R. Monterose.

After becoming a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band within the Sixties (he carried out with them at Woodstock), Sanborn started an extended, fruitful partnership with Miles Davis’ arranger Gil Evans. Then in 1975, the discharge of “Taking Off” marked the start of Sanborn’s solo profession.

His 1980 LP “Hideaway” was steeped in funk and uncooked manufacturing (the observe “The Seduction” was a theme for the movie “American Gigolo”) and kicked off a decade-long bestseller streak that included 1981’s “Voyeur” and “As We Converse,” 1983’s “Backstreet,” 1984’s stay LP “Straight to the Coronary heart” and 1988’s “Shut Up,” which integrated electronics.

In 1991, Sanborn launched “One other Hand,” maybe his most beloved album amongst core jazz traditionalists. The undertaking featured an incendiary band with Invoice Frisell, Charlie Haden and Marc Ribot. Later in his profession, Sanborn returned to his genre-expansive roots on albums like 2015’s “Time and the River,” an acclaimed LP that spanned Latin, African and soul rhythms. “This Masquerade,” launched in 2018, was Sanborn’s most up-to-date solo album.

Past music, Sanborn pursued quite a lot of TV and movie alternatives. From 1998 to 1990, he and pianist Jools Holland co-hosted the late-night TV sequence “Night time Music” (also referred to as “Sunday Night time), which platformed musicians together with Sonny Rollins, Solar Ra and Sonic Youth. That program was produced by “Saturday Night time Stay” creator Lorne Michaels.

He commonly hosted the “After New Yr’s Eve” TV particular on ABC and fronted his syndicated jazz program. The saxophonist wrote scores for the “Deadly Weapon” movie franchise and steadily joined David Letterman’s stay band. He additionally hosted the podcast “As We Converse” from WBGO Studios.

Sanborn, who channeled and contributed to a variety of genres and mediums, disregarded the necessity for labels throughout his 1996 interview with The Instances

“Should you shut out music as a result of it doesn’t suit your preconceived listening patterns, you’re dishonest your self,” he stated. “Opera, nation, outdoors music, industrial music … in case you prefer it, it’s good. If it has which means, use it.”

Instances employees author August Brown contributed to this report.


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