Sax appeal …Happy Birthday David Sanborn

Growing up, Sunday mornings at my house began with the sounds of my dad’s collection of jazz greats, which included Miles Davis, Taj Mahal and Quincy Jones.

My nose would wrinkle when he invited me to listen to the melodious sounds of the horns, bass, drums and saxophones. I literally wanted to gag. My idea of music back then was the Jackson Five.

As an adult, I remember driving in my car with my dad, listening to CD 101.9. Back then, it was our local jazz station. I remarked that I loved the artist that was currently playing and my dad, straight, yet with a hint of teasing said, “It’s about time you acquired some taste.”

All I could do was laugh. But he was right. Since then, I’ve become a big time jazz lover and I have my dad to thank for that.

My favorite instrument is the saxophone and my favorite artist, the one and only, David Sanborn.

IMHO, David Sanborn is one of the greatest jazz musicians around. Although, he’s played many genres, his music typically blends jazz with instrumental pop and R&B.

OMG! I love his style, and I often write to his music. It could be a love scene, or perhaps a character whose personality requires a little swag! David’s music helps me write for that character.

Most importantly, whenever I’m in a funk and nothing seems right, I pop in a David Sanborn CD, start humming to his sax appeal, and all is right in my world.

I’ve seen him in concert quite a few times, but my fondest recollection was seeing him play at the Blue Note in New York City. The Blue Note is a small, intimate venue where you can really see the musicians up close.

“Up Close” took on a whole different meaning for me, when my daughter and I saw David live. Just before he was about to go on stage, a man at our table (of six) called him over. Apparently, he, too, was a musician and he reminded David that they’d met before.

Good thing I was seated, because it would have been highly embarrassing to faint at that moment.

David Sanborn was literally two feet away from me and with my mouth gaping, eyes glazed over and stunned, all I could do was stare. My daughter still teases me about that night. She said that was the first time, she’d ever seen me speechless.

Anyway …it was truly a night to remember.

To get a taste of David Sanborn’s music I suggest starting off with two of his hits, “The Dream” or “Maputo.” These songs, are quite popular in jazz circles, and “The Dream” is played quite often at sweet sixteen parties, graduation parties, and the like, because of its moving, soulful sound. It’s a great song. Take a listen. 🙂

The second is Maputo, which he made famous with legendary jazz pianist Bob James (on piano). Marcus Miller, (a jazz and R&B legend in his own right) who isn’t playing here, composed this song and many, many, many others!. He’s a favorite of mine also.

This is David’s birthday, so he gets two videos! 🙂 He is touring this year, and since he goes worldwide, you may be able to experience his sound wherever you are. I plan to be front and center! (A hundred “thank yous” to my dad for influencing me to appreciate something new.)

And to Mr. Sanborn, Happy Birthday!


Adding my two cents …The Jacksons and Michael


Like most African-American teenage girls, my bedroom walls were plastered with pictures of the Sylvers (does anybody remember them?) and the Jackson 5. My mother used to have a fit when I hung them up with massive piles of tape. “You’re going to peel the paint off the walls,” she yelled.

So …I used less tape on the next picture.

Every morning before I left the house for school, I would say good-bye and blow kisses to the fifty or so pictures and posters I had collected from magazines such as Right On! Ebony, and any teen magazine that featured the Jackson 5. I also had a special kiss on the lips for Marlon. Hey, I was a teenager in love!

My girlfriends and I used to have pajama parties and divide the brothers amongst ourselves. One girlfriend loved Jermaine, and another was crazy about Tito. Marlon was and is, my favorite Jackson.

But we all loved Michael.

I’ll always remember my first J5 concert at Madison Square Garden in the early ‘70s. Dressed to the nines in hot pants and strappy sandals that tied around the legs (Amazingly, they’re popular again. If only I’d kept mine, um …), my friends and I strutted in—with the other ten thousand teenagers—like we owned the place.

I loved my parents for taking five screaming girls to a J5 concert—not once, but twice. We cried and sang along with each song. When Michael yelled out to the audience, “Just look over your shoulder, honey…I’ll be there…” we went ballistic!

I could go on about how much Michael Jackson and his brothers influenced me growing up. I could also go on about how Michael’s solo career kept me dancing and singing along with my three daughters, who are also big MJ fans.

But I won’t.

Instead, I’ll pop “Butterfly” and “Wanna be Startin’ Something” into my car CD and jam on the way home. When I get there, I’ll raise a glass of whatever, and play every Jackson 5 song starting with “I Want You Back” on the “Diana Ross presents: The Jackson 5” cd.

It’s forty years of music, so my tribute will definitely last all weekend. And possibly, beyond.

MJ: Gone too soon.