David Sanborn performs at Wentz Hall

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist David Sanborn made a stop at North Central College Saturday night for an intimate concert in Wentz Hall. Sanborn played a set from his recent album, a tribute to Ray Charles: “Only Everything”.

Audience members watched as David Sanborn went back to his gospel and rhythm and blues roots, with organist Joey DeFrancesco and Drummer Jean Lake by his side.

“It was that period of music that was really influential to me,” says Sanborn. “There were two great saxophone players in Ray Charles’ band— Hank Crawford and David Newman—who were the major figures in my life, the people that first turned me on to music and made me want to play in the first place.”

Sanborn’s roots are also in the Midwest. He grew up in St. Louis, attended Northwestern University in Evanston, and has played with countless Chicago greats. His favorite collaboration—Buddy Guy.

“He’s like a nuclear reactor, this guy, he’s an amazing singer and guitar player to this day, he’s gotta be in his 70’s and he’s still playing his ass off,” says Sanborn.

Sanborh himself is 65. But he’s not stopping yet.

“We’re pretty much on the road until the end of the year, until the end of my life,” says Sanborn.

Sanborn is the first concert of North Central College’s Fine and Performing Arts Season 2010-2011.

And he was a great start. Sanborn was due to play for just an hour but ended up doing an encore that extended his concert past 90 minutes.

During the concert, Sanborn told the audience, “That you very much for coming out tonight and making it possible for us to make a living doing something we love to do. You know the truth is, and I shouldn’t say this in public, I would do this for nothing.” He paused, “I say this after I get paid of course.” The whole audience laughed.

Sanborn, who’s played in large venues like Madison Square Garden, enjoyed with intimate size of Wentz.

“It’s because the audience is right there, and the way that the room is designed, the audience is kind of, you can kind of see everybody so it feels very intimate, it feels very close,” says Sanborn.

Sanborn thinks live performances are more important now than ever before.

“That’s the essence of it, you know it’s hearing the room ring, it’s seeing the guy connect to the drums or saxophone or organ or whatever it is…It brings it down to what it’s really all about.”

And that’s what Sanborn did at North Central College on Saturday night.


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