David Sanborn has died

David Sanborn photo by Rene Jakobson https://flic.kr/p/sffEZ4
John Hilderbrand Avatar

David Sanborn, a true contemporary jazz legend, passed Sunday afternoon, May 12th, after an extended battle with prostate cancer with complications.

This is such a sad loss. Sanborn was an influence and inspiration to a lot of contemporary jazz musicians. He would be one of the four in a contemporary jazz version of Mt. Rushmore. He left us so much great music. He brought much joy and happiness to his fans.

His sound is instantly recognizable. He could play it all, from funk to the sweetest ballad. His accomplishments go beyond the facts that he played with a lot of top-notch musicians, was a six time Grammy winner, and host of the incredible Night Music show.

Tributes have been pouring out. Here are some that came across my feeds:

Bob James:

The news of the loss of David Sanborn to the music world has deeply saddened me. I was so privileged to share major highlights of my career in partnership with him.
His legacy will live on through the recordings. Every note he played came straight from his heart, with a passionate intensity that could make an ordinary tune extraordinary.
I loved David’s subtle sophisticated humor, which carried over into his music. And always made it inspiring to perform with him.
He will be deeply missed.

George Benson:

Time has captured one of the music industry’s truly great artists. David brought a lot joy to music fans everywhere with his outstanding and highly identifiable style. One of the easiest individuals in the music world to get along with. I could talk to David about anything. I know that many of us will miss this great man, me included. (And he made a great 🎷 recording of “This Masquerade.”)

Spyro Gyra:

We’re shocked and beyond sad to hear off the passing yesterday of the great David Sanborn. “A truly great saxophonist and musician, one of the most influential of my lifetime and an artist who had an extraordinary ability to play emotionally,” Jay Beckenstein offers. “Whatever he touched whether jazz, gospel or pop, his approach was beautiful and powerful. A great loss.”

Gerald Albright:

We’ve lost another icon…..l’ve lost another friend.

David Sanborn will be greatly missed…one of the most influential musicians of our time. I’m blessed to have the memories of the moments that I spent with him. Job well done, David. Rest well.

Christian McBride:

This one hurts a lot. He was a wonderful man, a wonderful friend, and a wonderful musician. RIP, friend.

Nathan East:

In the quiet of this moment, mourning the passing of another musical treasure. In loving memory of David Sanborn, the perennial maestro of the saxophone whose soulful sound and melodies touched the hearts of millions across the globe.

His playing elevated the sax to unparalleled heights that left an indelible imprint on the world of music. In addition to all that jazz, he was so cool to hang with and a very funny cat! His compositions and unforgettable performances will remain a testament to his enduring legacy. As one of many who had the privilege of sharing the stage, and a frienship with Dave, I am humbled, grateful and blessed to have known him. While he may have departed this world, his music will continue to inspire and uplift countless generations to come.

May eternal light shine on his beautiful soul…. Rest in peace David Sanborn💔🙏🏽🎷

Bootsy Collins:

Danggit! Our good friend Mr. David Sanborn has changed frequencies. Our condolences to his family & friends. He had one of the Best Nite Shows on TV. …  A true musician is what we aspire to be. U will be missed. R.I.P.

He appeared regularly on David Letterman, sitting in with Paul Shaffer and the band. Letterman released this tribute:

David Sanborn photo by Rene Jakobson

John Hilderbrand Avatar

5 responses to “David Sanborn has died”

  1. Liz Goodwin Avatar
    Liz Goodwin

    Heartfelt; evocative; emotional; and powerful are just a scant number of adjectives that come to mind when I think of the music of the late, and always great, Mr. Sanborn. He was indeed an icon. iI oved your Mount Rushmore quote about him–so true. He was a treasure and we know that he will be missed by so many! I’m very grateful for his musical legacy. “Anything You Want,” his four-disc anthology (with wonderful liner notes by music historian and journalist A. Scott Galloway) is required heartwarming listening. The word “heart” was infused in both his album titles and songs on so many occasions, and it’s understandable why–his saxophone’s wai and cry and jubilance spoke directly to the heart. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Mr. Sanborn. Our lives are richer because of them. Blessings to the David Sanborn family always! Thank you, Mr. Hildebrand for your fine tribute. Blessings to you and all.

  2. Leng Avatar

    Sad to hear. I loved Mr. Sanborn’s very unique sound at the time when the genre were dominated by homogeniety and predictability.

    I hope he’s playing for my father up in the sky who also recently passed at the age of 91. This gives me some much needed comfort knowing he’ll be listening to some good music up there.

    RIP to both great men.

    1. John Hilderbrand Avatar
      John Hilderbrand

      Sorry for you loss, Leng

    2. Liz Goodwin Avatar
      Liz Goodwin

      My condolences to you and your family for the loss of your father, Mr. Leng. Blessings to you all.

  3. Liz Goodwin Avatar
    Liz Goodwin

    My condolences to you and your family for the loss of your father, Mr. Leng. Blessings to you all.

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