Born in Tampa, Florida in 1945 and raised in St. Louis, David Sanborn was stricken with polio at the age of three. At eleven years old, after spending time in an iron lung, David was advised by his doctor to take up a wind instrument to build strength in his lungs. A fan of the sax, he chose the alto and by the age of 14, found himself backing up Albert King at a local gig and sitting in with Gil Evans. His primary influences were Charlie Parker, Jackie McLean, Hank Crawford and David ‘Fathead’ Newman.
At 18, he chose the life of the musician and entered Northwestern University to study music. Four years later he moved to San Francisco and joined the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, recording and touring with them until 1971, including the performance at the Woodstock Festival. After living in Woodstock for a year, he rejoined Butterfield in 1972 and also played with superstars like Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones, while honing his Jazz chops with Gil Evans and the Brecker Brothers.
In 1975, David went solo, recording four albums before his breakthrough album, 'Hideaway' was nominated for a Grammy in 1980. The following year his 'Voyeur' album won the Grammy and went gold as well.
In 1983, he both scored and acted in an Italian film, 'Stella Sulla Citta,' and his 'Backstreet' album stayed at the top of the Jazz charts for an entire year.
By the late ‘80s, David had achieved enormous popularity with frequent appearances on 'Late Night With David Letterman' and his own critically acclaimed show for NBC, 'Night Music,' co-hosted with Jools Holland, where he was able to present artists like Miles Davis, Sun Ra, John Zorn, Hank Ballard, Pharoah Sanders and others not frequently seen on TV.
Continuing to rack up Grammies and huge sales, David has spawned a legion of imitators, resulting in his constant search for new concepts and sounds.
Whether performing with 60-piece orchestras, contributing to soundtracks or working with the Legends, (along with Eric Clapton), David Sanborn remains one of the most distinctive and influential players on the contemporary scene.