2022 Miramar Jazz Festival

Photo: Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Saxophonist David Sanborn has died at the age of 78. “It is with sad and heavy hearts that we convey to you the loss of internationally renowned, 6 time Grammy Award-winning, saxophonist, David Sanborn. Mr. Sanborn passed Sunday afternoon, May 12th, after an extended battle with prostate cancer with complications,” said a statement on his official Instagram. Sanborn was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 but continued to tour and had dates scheduled until 2025. He worked with the likes of James Brown, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Kenny G. Sanborn briefly joined the Saturday Night Live band in the late 70s and performed as the musical guest for the show’s 100th episode alongside Paul Simon and James Taylor.

While Sanborn appreciated jazz music, he did not want to be pigeonholed into a genre he didn’t claim solely because of his instrument of choice. “I would describe myself more as coming out of the blues/R&B side of the spectrum. But I mean, if you play the saxophone, you certainly can’t escape the influence of jazz,” he explained to NPR in 2008. “So it’s not that I necessarily don’t want to be called a jazz musician. It’s just that I don’t know if that’s totally accurate.”

Below are tributes to the late musician.

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