Renowned and revered the world over as one of the greatest saxophone players of all-time, David Sanborn is an artist whose music has inspired countless other musicians while creating a body of work that spans the genres of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, pop and jazz. A naturally gifted performer, David has helped defined the saxophone’s modern sound while influencing a generation.
Born July 30, 1945 in Tampa, Florida, David William Sanborn contracted polio when he was only 3 years old. As a part of his rehabilitative therapy, David was introduced to the saxophone. It was an introduction with consequences quite beyond the imagination of his parents, doctors - or anyone else. The selection of the alto sax - a favourite from David’s days spent listening to the radio - would prove to be a pivotal moment in the development of his sound.
Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, David was tremendously inspired by the rich legacy of great Chicago blues artists who would play their way through town. Before he was finished high school, David had played with names such as Albert King and Little Milton. When I was 17 or 18,” David has said, And it was time to figure out what to do with my life, I realized that I didn't enjoy anything as much as I enjoyed playing music. I felt that I had no choice, that I HAD to become a musician. Either that or steal cars.
David studied music for a year at Northwestern University before transferring to the University of Iowa. By 20, he was married and the proud father of a son - Jonathan Sanborn - for whom each of David’s records have been dedicated. A phone call from an old friend in San Francisco - drummer Teddy Steward - convinced David to head for California. It was while in San Francisco that another old friend - Phillip Wilson - who had recently joined the Butterfield Blues Band, invited David to Los Angeles to sit-in on recording sessions with the band. “I got on a Greyhound bus from San Francisco to LA, took a bus into Hollywood, slept on the floor of Phillip's hotel room and went to the studio with him.” David has said. “Just had my horn. I think it was because I looked so pathetic, standing there with my horn, Paul Butterfield said, Why don't you just come and play on a tune? I sat in and I did okay. And I was with Butterfield for almost five years.”