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JT Video Premiere: Sanborn Sessions Featuring Sting

Saxophonist David Sanborn's video series is back, with help from a fairly well-known singer/songwriter

Sanborn Sessions with Sting
Clockwise from top left: David Sanborn, Sting, Ben Williams, Rob Mathes, Geoffrey Keezer, and Billy Kilson (photo courtesy of Sanborn Sessions

Good news: Sanborn Sessions, the digital music show hosted by multiple Grammy Award-winning saxophonist David Sanborn, is back. And JazzTimes is honored to premiere its latest episode, recorded remotely and featuring singer/songwriter/guitarist Sting.

As has become customary in these “remote sessions,” the episode begins with a pre-production Zoom meeting, in which Sanborn and the other band members—keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Billy Kilson—chat with arranger/producer/multi-instrumentalist/backing vocalist Rob Mathes about the arrangements for the songs they plan to play with Sting (on nylon-string acoustic guitar and vocals). One of those songs, “In My Own Dream,” is a 1968 song by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, of which Sanborn was a member at that time. In a subsequent conversation, Sting calls Sanborn’s Eastern-tinged soprano sax solo on Butterfield’s original recording “seminal for me as a musician … I checked your name [on the album credits], David Sanborn, and I never forgot it.” He also talks about his early experience playing bass in a British trad-jazz band and his relationship with legendary bandleader/arranger Gil Evans.

Sanborn Sessions explores the essence of music through candid conversations and free-flowing performances. The show’s first six episodes, filmed in Sanborn’s New York home studio, feature Kandace Springs, Michael McDonald with Brian Owens, Jonatha Brooke with Charlie Hunter, Terrace Martin, Cyrille Aimée, and Bob James. A further series of “remote sessions,” recorded after the COVID-19 lockdown and featuring Brooke, Cory Henry, Joey DeFrancesco, and Marcus Miller, can be viewed at sanbornsessions.com, as well as on the Sanborn Sessions YouTube channel. The series is sponsored by Sweetwater.