David Sanborn has been one of my favorite saxophone players from the beginning. In fact, he was my first. I was in high school the first time I heard him play. Unfortunately, I have never heard him perform live. My first exposure was a recording of him performing with Randy Crawford at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It was an album that my Aunt Doris had, and I could not stop listening to it.
Once I found out his name, I started looking for records with David playing, either with other artists, or his own solo material. He was the first sax player I’d ever heard who could play R&B, Soul, Rock etc. I had heard sax players on B.B. King albums, however, at that age, I considered that old to be people’s music. Of course, that would change later.
David was also the first player I’d ever heard use the altissimo register of the saxophone extensively. Altissimo notes are the high notes on a woodwind instrument that do not play by simply pressing the correct key. You must refocus your air to cause one of the harmonics of the instrument to sound. It is not that easy to do and takes much practice. Because of this ability, and the groovy lines I heard coming from Dave’s horn, I considered him a god on the sax. From that time I was driven to practice. I wanted to be like Dave.
For more info on David Sanborn, you may go to https://davidsanborn.com. Until then enjoy the video above.