David Sanborn – A true jazz legend


1945 – 2024

I remember a time when there was no internet, and the only way to know what was happening in jazz was to browse through magazines dedicated to this music. We always saw the same familiar faces, until one day I came across an article about the album “Promise Me the Moon” in 1977. Since that day, David Sanborn has never left my music collection. Even though all my David Sanborn CDs were stolen during a move, his music has remained in my heart, with two highlights for me: his collaboration with Bob James and with Marcus Miller.
There’s a distinct “David Sanborn sound” that resonates both on his solo albums and on the albums, he contributes to, like a signature. Few artists can boast of such a fact, but David could. Even more impressive was the respect that all the musicians and singers who approached him had for this man. I remember dining with Claude Nougaro during the “Nougayork” album period, and the words flowed about his collaboration with David Sanborn and Marcus Miller. Nougaro held total admiration for these two artists. Unfortunately, I never got to know David Sanborn personally, although I saw him perform about ten times on stage. I was as dazzled by his artistic performances as I was by the humanity and kindness he clearly showed towards his fellow musicians. Just for that, David is an inspiration.
Musically, in his later years, there were those famous “Sessions” he posted on YouTube, inviting both young and older artists he admired. This proved, if it was ever necessary, how broad his musical knowledge was.
There are few artists who leave such a mark on generations of musicians and audiences, and who leave such a huge void when they pass away. It takes very special qualities, possessed by few, for this to happen. With such a long and beautiful career, around thirty solo albums, and dozens of collaborations ranging from Chaka Khan to BB King, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Shawn Colvin, and even appearing on Nena’s album in the 80s, or with the group Toto, I intentionally chose examples outside of jazz to show you how much David Sanborn influenced 20th-century music.
If David Sanborn leaves an immense void behind him, he also leaves behind memories of immense joy for all of us who had the honor of hearing him on stage. Obviously, his music will outlive him, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his friends dedicate wonderful albums to him. It would be fully deserved, considering the significant role David Sanborn played for several decades.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move/ABS magazine
Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News