David Sanborn, born on July 30, 1945, in Tampa, Florida, is an American alto saxophonist, primarily known for his work in the jazz, pop, and R&B genres. Sanborn contracted polio at the age of three, which led to his initial encounter with the saxophone as part of his rehabilitation therapy. This early challenge played a significant role in his musical development and later success.
Sanborn's professional career commenced in the late 1960s after he joined the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. His association with the band marked his introduction to a broader audience and established the foundation for his future endeavors in the music industry.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Sanborn's solo career flourished with the release of several albums such as "Taking Off" (1975), "Heart to Heart" (1978), and "Hideaway" (1980). These works were notable for their fusion of jazz, blues, and pop elements, and they helped establish Sanborn's reputation as a versatile and skilled musician. His playing style is characterized by a bright, piercing tone and a propensity for expressive, melodic improvisation.
In addition to his solo work, Sanborn became a prolific session musician, contributing to albums by a diverse array of artists, including David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen. His saxophone solo on Bowie's "Young Americans" is particularly well-regarded and exemplifies his ability to enhance the works of other artists.
Sanborn also ventured into television, hosting "Night Music" from 1988 to 1990. The show featured performances by various artists across different musical genres, highlighting Sanborn's commitment to musical diversity and exploration.
Throughout his career, Sanborn has been recognized with multiple Grammy Awards, acknowledging his contributions both as a solo artist and as a collaborator. His impact on the saxophone and contemporary music is significant, having influenced numerous musicians and listeners.
In more recent years, Sanborn has continued to be active in the music industry, experimenting with new styles and collaborating with contemporary artists. Despite changes in the musical landscape, he remains a respected figure due to his emotive playing style and enduring influence on the saxophone.
Overall, David Sanborn's career is marked by his resilience in the face of early health challenges, his innovative blending of musical genres, and his influence as a saxophonist. His work spans across decades, highlighting his versatility and enduring appeal in the music industry.