Thirty years ago, saxophonist and six-time Grammy Award winner David Sanborn hosted a late-night NBC program called Night Music that was one of the most diverse, and coolest, music shows ever seen on television. Although each episode was wildly eclectic—one featured Sonny Rollins, Leonard Cohen, Ken Nordine, and Was (Not Was), while another boasted Sun Ra, the Pixies, Al Green, and Arthur Baker—the show’s emphasis was on what bonded all of its participants: the process of music-making. Due to rights issues, the two seasons of Night Music have long been unavailable commercially. But now, inspired by that program’s legacy, Sanborn is picking up where he left off in 1990 with a new show in the same spirit: Sanborn Sessions, which will premiere December 3 at sanbornsessions.com, as well as on the Sanborn Sessions YouTube channel.
Hosted by Sanborn, produced in his home studio with help from his nephew and brother-in-law, and sponsored by the musical-equipment retailer Sweetwater, Sanborn Sessions doesn’t have scripts, teleprompters, or a studio audience. What it does have is plenty of talented musicians talking about their work and then doing it. The first episode features singer/pianist Kandace Springs and includes a stunning rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Solitude.” Future episodes will welcome multi-instrumentalist/producer Terrace Martin, guitarist Charlie Hunter, keyboardist Bob James, singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke, and vocalists Michael McDonald, Brian Owens, and Cyrille Aimée.
“To me this show is not just about dialogue,” Sanborn said in a statement. “It’s absolutely essential that we keep this authentic. Because then they [the audience] get the real unfiltered stuff. This show comes out of humor and friendship and just trying to get on the same musical wavelength. It’s intimate, fly-on-the-wall stuff.”
Full episodes of the show will offer conversations and performances with behind-the-scenes lead-ins; some of the performances will also be issued for individual consumption across digital audio platforms.
Watch the official trailer for Sanborn Sessions below.