Jazz Saxophonist Was Film Composer & ‘SNL’ Band Member

May 13, 2024 - Culture

David Sanborn, the six time Grammy-winning alto saxophonist who played at Woodstock, composed music for the Lethal Weapon movies, played in the SNL and Late Night with David Letterman bands and worked with everyone from Stevie Wonder to David Bowie, died Sunday afternoon, May 12th, after an extended battle with prostate cancer with complications. He Was 78.

Sanborn’s music is often described “smooth jazz,” but he reportedly rejected that characterization, and one can see why. His lively, iconic sax solo on Bowie’s “Young Americans” is anything but. Sanborn preferred the idea that he “put the saxophone back into Rock ’n Roll.”

Indeed he worked with a virtual who’s who of rock and R&B legends, including James Brown, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Elton John, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, Roger Waters, Steely Dan, the Eagles, the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones.

In TV and film, Sanborn was a member of the legendary Saturday Night Live band from 1979-1980 alongside fellow alto player — and future Lord of the Rings composer — Howard Shore, future Late Night with David Letterman band leader Paul Shaffer on keyboards and his future frequent collaborator, bassist Marcus Miller.

In the late ’80s he was a guest with Shaffer in the Late Night with David Letterman band. He was also interviewed by Letterman several times.

At the same time, Sanborn, Clapton and Michael Kamen composed music for Lethal Weapon 2, 3 and 4.

He also appeared, usually cast as a musician, in Paul Simon’s film One Trick Pony, Magnum P.I., Scrooged and, as himself, in Billy Crystal’s Forget Paris.

Sanborn released 25 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum.

At the age of three, he contracted polio and took to the saxophone as part of his treatment therapy. By the time he was a teen, he was playing with blues legends such as Albert King and Little Milton.

In the late ’60s he joined the Butterfield Blues Band and played on the final day at Woodstock. He was soon touring and recording with Stevie Wonder and recorded for Wonder’s Talking Book album, played with The Rolling Stones, toured and recording with Bowie and toured and recorded with jazz great Gil Evans. He later collaborated with Simon and James Taylor, providing the signature sax solo on Taylor’s classic version of “How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved By You).”

Sanbron made his solo debut in 1975 with the album Taking Off, which featured the popular jazz fusion act the Brecker Brothers. His 1979 release, Hideaway, became a featured the single, “Seduction” which was featured in American Gigolo. He won his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance for the sing “All I Need Is You” on the 1981 record, Voyeur.

Later albums included guest artists such as Luther Vandross, Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Charlie Hayden, Wallace Roney, Kenny Barron, Christian McBride and Clapton.

The following was posted on Sanborn’s Facebook page earlier today:

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.

Mr. Sanborn had been dealing with prostate cancer since 2018, but had been able to maintain his normal schedule of concerts until just recently. Indeed he already had concerts scheduled into 2025.

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.”


Source link

Play Cover Track Title
Track Authors