“Resilience: For David Sanborn” – a poem by Alan Yount

May 20th, 2024

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photo by Rene Jakobson/Flicker/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED

photo by Rene Jakobson

 

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Resilience: For David Sanborn
…………..“An Alto Sax Jazz Man.”

my claim to jazz fame:
I have had fun telling people …
I got to know david sanborn
in high school band.

times could be rough though, for you:
& while still young, you beat polio
taking up the alto sax
for respiratory therapy.

and later, you beat
other troubles:
a gift,
possibly from your playing …

conveying an essence
to conquer misfortune,
and how to
keep on continuing.

*****

what we remember most
is sanborn’s distinctive sound.

you just knew it was him, you heard.

just like you knew who was playing:
like when they played cannonball adderley,
coltrane, or charlie parker.

you knew
when he played
those special notes,
he learned from living life …

you were there, yourself
with his life sound …
coming out of his
golden selmer paris, alto sax.

*****

what kept sanborn,
going for so long?

was it to hear, the audience
giving you those cheers …

for your jazz music,
and for years of playing on & on:

back again, night after night

with resilience …

for over …

sixty-five years.

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originally published by Westward Quarterly/Summer Issue; 2020

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David Sanborn died on May 12, 2024, at the age of 78

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Alan Yount has published poetry for over 50 years. His poems have appeared in WestWard Quarterly (featured poet for summer, 2018). Big Scream, Spring: the Journal of the E.E. Cummings Society, and Waterways. He has been in three anthologies: Passionate Hearts, Sunflowers.and Locomotives: Songs for Allen Ginsburg, in which Alan was one of 31 poets, along with Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  Alan plays trumpet and has led his own dance band.

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Listen to the 1991 recording of David Sanborn performing “Dukes & Counts,” which features Mulgrew Miller (piano); Marcus Miller (bass); and Jack DeJohnette (drums).  [Rhino/Warner Bros.)

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In This Issue

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