By Kristi Kates
Saxophonist David Sanborns studio and live performance resume reads like a Whos Who of jazz, R&B, and pop/rock music.
Hes performed in-session and/or live with -- among others -- James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Carly Simon, The Eagles, Elton John, and, perhaps most recognizably, David Bowie, for which Sanborn contributed the distinctive sax solo on Bowies 1975 classic hit Young Americans.
Today, Sanborns promoting his latest album release, Only Everything, (2010, Decca Records), his 24th album, on which he pays homage to one of his personal musical influences, Ray Charles.
The album focuses, obviously, on Sanborns alto sax performances, accompanied by the soulful, grooving organ work of Joey DeFrancesco, the beats of drummer Steve Gadd, and a four-piece horn section. James Taylor even shows up to throw some great vocals in on the track Hallelujah, I Love Her So, while other songs, including Blues in the Night, Hard Times, and Only Everything showcase the more present, frontman side of Sanborn himself.
Sanborn worked with yet another legend on his current album - namely, producer Phil Ramone, who has worked with many of the same collaborators that Sanborn has, plus a wide range of pop artists from Madonna to Jason Mraz, Jewel to Shelby Lynne. The album itself was reportedly recorded in just a few days, which Sanborn credits in part to Ramones being at the helm.
We did just a few takes of each cut, as it seemed the first or second take was the one, Sanborn said in a recent interview with Lee Mergner of JazzTimes, Phil produces the record that you really want to make.Ramone was also on hand to present the George Benson Lifetime Achievement Award to Sanborn at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards this past April. Co-chair of the event Mary Kirk only had praise for the musician.
We are truly honoured to be able to celebrate Davids outstanding career by presenting him with this years Benson Award, Kirk says, like those recipients before him, he has been such a tremendous ambassador for jazz with his artistry.
But before you take the ...Smooth Jazz... part of that award to heart (smooth jazz being a term that Sanborn himself often eschews), be forewarned - this is a man who is a master of the saxophone, meaning he plays it like he means it.
Live, Sanborn performs with plenty of power - being David Sanborn, of course, he knows when to pull back and how to apply the perfect dynamics to each song - but he still appears to simply love a good rollicking saxophone jam, and chances are thats much of what the audience at his upcoming Interlochen show will see.
Sanborns tour this summer has seen him showcasing a mix of material old and new, including the likes of I Got News for You and Basin Street Blues, as well as plenty of tracks from that aforementioned new album. At his appearance last month at the big Ohio State Fair, Sanborn celebrated his birthday (his 65th), and noted that hes been doing this since he was 15 years old - so he definitely has plenty of material to draw from.
And, hopefully for jazz fans, plenty more years of performing the same.
David Sanborn performs at Interlochens Corson Auditorium on Friday, August 13 at 8:00 pm. Tickets available online at https://tickets.interlochen.org.