Renowned Saxophonist David Sanborn Passes Away at 78

Published May 13, 2024

Music icon and Grammy Award-winning saxophonist David Sanborn has passed away at the age of 78. His career spanned genres, from pop and rock to R&B and jazz, leaving a profound impact on the music industry.

Remembering a Musical Legend

Sanborn succumbed to his battle with prostate cancer and its complications on May 12th, leaving behind a legacy decorated with six Grammy Awards and collaborations with major artists. His death was announced with a heartfelt statement released on his social media, expressing the loss felt by the international music community. The confirmation of Sanborn's passing was provided by his publicist, affirming the details shared online.

Despite being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, Sanborn's dedication to music pushed him to perform until recently, with concert dates planned well into 2025. His drive to continue playing reflects the role he played in revitalizing the saxophone's presence in rock 'n' roll.

David Sanborn's Early Life and Career

Born in Tampa, Florida and raised in Missouri, Sanborn turned to the saxophone as a healing tool after contracting polio at age three. Showcasing his talent at only 14 years old, he was soon playing with blues legends. Sanborn's formal music education included studies at Northwestern University and the University of Iowa, where he played beside renowned saxophonist JR Monterose.

Joining the Butterfield Blues Band, performing at Woodstock, touring with stars like Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie propelled Sanborn into the limelight. His memorable solo on Bowie's 'Young Americans' stands out among his many performances. Sanborn's influence was not limited to performing, as he also embarked upon a successful solo career.

Awards and Accolades

Releasing his first album 'Taking Off' in 1975 and following with 'Hideaway', Sanborn's works featured other music powerhouses such as Luther Vandross and Eric Clapton. His track 'All I Need Is You' earned him his first Grammy in 1981, a precursor to many more accolades. With eight gold albums and a platinum one, his achievements in music were recognized up to as recently as March 2024, when he was honored in St. Louis for his lifetime achievement in jazz—a moment of pride and gratitude for him.

loss, tribute, legend