Born July 30, 1945, David William Sanborn grew up in Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis. Throughout his early years, Sanborn was inspired by the rich legacy of great Chicago blues artists who played in St. Louis. He spent time hanging out at the legendary Gaslight Square district, and before he even finished high school, he played gigs with legendary artists like Albert King and Little Milton. The performances helped define the six-time Grammy Award-winner’s ultimate career path.
“When I was 17 or 18 and it was time to figure out what to do with my life, I realized that I didn’t enjoy anything as much as I enjoyed playing music. I felt I had no choice – I had to become a musician. Either that or steal cars.”
In 1969, he played Woodstock as a member of the Butterfield Blues Band, and spent the next few years working with some of music’s biggest names including Miles Davis, James Brown, and the Eagles. He recorded with David Bowie – that’s Sanborn’s sax solo on Bowie’s “Young Americans” – and released them landmark album “Backstreet” in 1983.
“My music has definitely been affected by growing up in St. Louis because it’s the crossroads between the south, the Midwest and the north. It has the deep blues roots of the south but also another level of sophistication of urban areas, so it really shaped my musical identity.”