Famed Saxophonist David Sanborn Dies at 78

(StraightNews.org) – Grammy award-winning saxophonist David Sanborn has died at age 78. An announcement appeared on his social media pages stating that he died on the afternoon of May 12, having battled prostate cancer and associated complications. The statement noted that Sanborn was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 but had been able to keep up a routine, including performing, until his condition worsened recently. It concluded by describing Mr. Sanborn as “a seminal figure in contemporary pop and jazz music” who had “put the saxophone back into Rock ’n Roll.”

Born in Tampa, Florida, in 1948, Sanborn grew up in a St. Louis suburb and began playing the saxophone on a doctor’s recommendation. He was diagnosed with polio at age 3, which weakened his respiratory system; physicians recommended a wind instrument to strengthen his lungs. He later studied music at Northwestern University in Illinois and the University of Iowa.

In 1967, the saxophonist joined The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, recording four albums and enjoying a performance spot at the legendary Woodstock festival in New York in 1969. Further career highlights include collaboration with the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and Elton John.

Sanborn also tried his hand at acting and played a street musician in the 1980s comedy Scrooged, starring Bill Murray, and had a small part in an episode of Magnum PI in 1986. The musician had a long list of achievements off camera and was an accomplished composer. He created the musical scores for movies such as Psycho II, Lethal Weapon, and Tequila Sunrise. Furthermore, he was a regular on Saturday Night Live and a saxophonist for David Letterman’s late-night show.

Throughout his long career, Sanborn won six Grammys and had eight gold and one platinum album. In 2004, he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. The star performed alongside his wife and fellow musician Alice on numerous occasions. The couple met in France when she heard him play through an open window.

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