Norman David

Norman David

Instrument: Saxophone, soprano | Location: Philadelphia

David writes beautifully, with a unique... voice in the field of modern jazz composition... [He] plays fierce soprano saxophone, holding up strong next to Dick Oatts, George Garzone and other world-class players.
—David Adler

Updated: May 28, 2020

Born: September 24

Norman David directs, plays with and composes the music for his ensemble, The Eleventet. For almost 20 years beginning in the early 1980s, David led versions of the Eleventet in Boston, central Maine, and NYC. Among the musicians who have played with the band are George Garzone, Dick Oatts, Tim Hagans, John Fedchock, John Swana, Seamus Blake, Terell Stafford, Joe Magnarelli, Greg Hopkins. Jon Gordon, Ben Schachter, Gary Smulyan, Scott Robinson, Tom Lawton, John Hébert and Tim Horner.

In 2000, David debuted the first Philadelphia version of The Eleventet. In mid-2007, he finalized an ongoing Philadelphia roster of players, comprised of the cream of that city's jazz artists. The Eleventet is featured exclusively throughout the year at Plays and Players Theater, one of Philadelphia's venerable venues for the creative arts. Additionally, the band performs at other notable locales and events in the region. The Eleventet produces breathtaking ensemble-playing filled with monster solos. David's compositions and arrangements propel listeners down unexpected paths and through surprising twists and turns.

Norman David, a veteran of the music scenes in Boston and Philadelphia, is a prolific composer and arranger, recognized for his unmatched style and unique voice. He is also a prominent saxophonist, clarinetist, author and music educator. As leader/composer or sideman at clubs, theaters, and festivals in the U.S., Canada and Europe for many years, he has appeared with numerous jazz luminaries, as well as with various all-star ensembles. He has been awarded grants in recognition of his jazz composing from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Composers Forum. He also continues to enjoy success as a composer of art music, his works having been commissioned and/or premiered by the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, the Temple University Wind Symphony, Alea III, The Network For New Music, Charles Abramovic, Jonathan Blumenfeld, Jarred Antonacci, and Dave Bozenhard.

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All About Jazz Articles

Album Review
Live Review
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VICTOR L. SCHERMER - ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM ”...reed player Norman of the most innovative arrangers in the business.”

DAVID ADLER - PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY ”David writes beautifully, with a unique...voice in the field of modern jazz composition.... [He] plays fierce soprano saxophone, holding up strong next to Dick Oatts, George Garzone and other world-class players.”

RJ JOHNSON - WWW.ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM ”With a seemingly endless repertoire, the band provides a unique experience...It was obvious that David's musical palette extends far beyond the realm of jazz....His style relied on the versatility of the band and ultimately allowed a more natural sound to emerge.... [The] Eleventet is one of the city's best-known jazz groups, featuring some of Philadelphia's best soloists...Each musician was well-versed in the jazz tradition and a conventional smaller group setting where the freedom to explore new musical territory was uninhibited

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Primary Instrument

Saxophone, soprano



Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Coordinator of Jazz Composition & Arranging - Temple University: Arranging, Composition, Graduate Arranging, Graduate Jazz History, Ensembles

Adjunct Associate Professor - University of the Arts: Studio Composition, Orchestration, Jazz History, Theory, Ensembles

Contact Norman David for information and to arrange private instruction—online and in person.

Clinic/Workshop Information

Arranging / Composition: Author of the highly-rated Jazz Arranging (Scarecrow Press)

Masterclasses/Clinics on arranging and composition, high school to college and advanced.

Speaking Engagements / Guest Lectures: Author of The Ella Fitzgerald Companion (Praeger Publishers)

"Ella Fitzgerald and the Evolution of Jazz Singing"


Tuesday Overture

From: At This Time
By Norman David