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To put it straight: I'm a longtime David Sanborn fan. I have most of his albums. Not a fan of all of them. I could say, the more acoustic, the more I like them.
But one facet of Sanborn which fascinates me most, is how he can sit in in so different settings, recordings, movie tracks, etc..., and give the music a huge dimension.
While driving, I often let my iPhone play in random mode, rediscovering tunes not heard for many years. The other day, it played Manhattan Transfer's "So You Say" from the "Brazil" album. Nice typical 80's slow groove, nice chord changes, great vocals (no surprise...), and suddenly: Mr Sanborn. I didn't remember he played on that album (Getz is also on 1 number). Got tears, I almost had to stop the car.

Here it goes:

Sanborn's solo, in 2 parts, is, for me, an example of perfection. It seems SO simple and exactly spot on where "it hurts". With him that nice and clean "popish" song becomes a great piece of music and emotion.
Laid back timing, the whole range of the horn, his typical dramatic and unmistakable tone, and the way he sticks around the 4th, is just amazing.

Thanks so much Mr. Sanborn for hiding on all those albums, with your name written in small letters, sometimes not at all, but BANG, you literally blow the music up.

Other examples to share ?
 

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"What a Difference a Day Makes" by Esther Phillips. It's a cover in the disco vain circa 1974, but the solo Sanborn blows in the middle sure is tasty. Heard it on the radio for the first time a few months ago.


"Free" by Marcus Miller featuring Corrinne Baily Rae on vocals. More recent. Nice Sanborn solo at the end. Marcus is always nice to listen to also.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The E. Phillips hit was my first exposure to Sanborn. By then, no-one knew about him. I realized only later that it was him. Hidden !
I wasn't aware neither (by then, I was in my teens) that that funky disco song was a revamped standard, nor that Mrs Phillips was an almost retired pop/soul star of the previous decade. Funny.
 

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There is certainly an art to the 8 measure solo, and no one does it better than David. here's another one on a Hiram Bullock album from late 80's/early 90's (?). Notice how the solo is integrated and arranged into the song, not just a time killing device like it seems they always are now.

 

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I was introduced to Sanborn by accident. When I was in high school, I was a member of the Colombia house music club (remember those!). Remember how they would send you the "selection of the month" automatically? Well, I usually sent them back, but one month I forgot to send it back and got stuck with it. So, I opened it up to listen to it (since I had to pay for it anyway) and it was David Sanborn's "Upfront". I was hooked immediately!
 

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I've got that album, I believe it is "From All Sides". Always liked that solo. One of the last cuts on the album if I remember correctly.

"Upfront" had great production. Most synths and late 80's sequencing and production were gone. Hammond B-3 organ. Horns section (including saxello and bass clarinet) It was a raw sounding album, nice follow up to "Another Hand" which was quite a new direction for him.
 

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i really like Sanborn's playing on the Michael Franks album "Sleeping Gypsy". Michael Brecker also plays on some of the tracks' so the whole album is nice.
 

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"Upfront" had great production. Most synths and late 80's sequencing and production were gone. Hammond B-3 organ. Horns section (including saxello and bass clarinet) It was a raw sounding album, nice follow up to "Another Hand" which was quite a new direction for him.
Yeah, that's actually my favourite Sanborn album - I love his take on Ornette Coleman's "Ramblin'" - crazy funky.
 

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I'm not sure how "hidden" it is, but his work in the late 70's on Linda Rondstat's remake of Smokey Robinson's "Ooh Baby Baby" got me hooked. His ability to play in and around a vocalist was fascinating.


The "solo" starts around 1:20, but the transition from vocal to solo and back is seamless. The interplay between the two in the last chorus is pretty cool too.
 

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I got heavy into Sanborn in the mid to late 80's. I even went through my phase of playing the horn out the side of my mouth (I actually laugh about that now). I use to buy anything, good or bad, that he played on. His solo on James Taylor's "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" is probably my favorite of his sideman solos with everything else running a close 2nd...smile. He definitely was the standard that I used to judge short melodic solos during that era.
 

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Then there is Sanborn playing bari sax on Springsteen's "Born to Run" album...

and of course Sanborn playing with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band at Woodstock, 1969

 

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YES! And of course Monkey See, Monkey Do from the Art of Tea.
really like Sanborn's playing on the Michael Franks album "Sleeping Gypsy". Michael Brecker also plays on some of the tracks' so the whole album is nice.
Absolutely, and that solo on the JT is a great one.
He (Sanborn) definitely was the standard that I used to judge short melodic solos during that era.
Wow, just caught David playing behind Butterfield a little before the 1:00 mark. Woodstock 1969 and he was already happening. Too bad the cameraman missed it... how cool is that!!!

I always liked Sanborn quite a bit, but I really started to appreciate his playing more when I got so into Michael Brecker and the Brecker Brothers. Sanborn was smokin' on those first couple of records. That led me to Taking Off, which might be my favorite Sanborn album. His playing definiely evolved a lot after that and all, but Taking Off is so solid top-to-bottom. Very strong offering.

Great discussion. When you look at the Brecker's horn section David-Randy-Michael and how good they all were...it's not just how incredibly great players they were. They were so great at collaborating with other musicians and making great music in just about any context.

I'm not sure how well Sanborn can ever really hide, his sound is so instantly identifiable. But, he sure is a musical chameleon!

Flamenco Sketches

Aint' no Sunshine (with Sting)

And back by popular demand...Little Wing live with Eric Clapton. Pure joy.
 

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Here's Sanborn playing live with James Taylor in 1979... How Sweet it Is

And another gem.. with Joni Mitchell, Bobby McFerrin, Wayne Shorter on soprano, Herbie Hancock. It's not Night Music, but something called Showtime's Coast to Coast. Late 80's

And with the Gil Evans Orchestra playing "Angel" by Jimi Hendrix in 1974
 

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I heard Sanborn, last night in Kent, Oh. He had Joey Defrancesco on B3, with him. They were excellent, but the show seemed a little short.
 

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Sanborn with Tim Curry on "Working on My Tan" Solo at 1:10, plus great overuse of that 80's synthy toms thing throughout.

 

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I heard Sanborn, last night in Kent, Oh. He had Joey Defrancesco on B3, with him. They were excellent, but the show seemed a little short.
Did Sanborn have his stage monitors raised off the floor? I wonder if it has to do with his hearing. I was a little disappointed when I saw him at a festival with Marcus Miller and George Duke and thinking I had great seats (second row) the raised stage monitors blocked a lot of my view.
 
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