David Sancious

David Sancious (born Nov. 30, 1953) is an American keyboardist, guitarist, composer, and arranger who led jazz-rockers Tone on the 1975/76 Epic albums Forest of Feelings and Transformation (The Speed of Love). After the 1977 recording Dance of the Age of Enlightenment, he issued three further albums on Arista.

Sancious was born on November 30, 1953, in Long Branch, N.J., where he learned classical piano as a child. By age eleven, he also played guitar. As a teenager, he played in various combos of musicians on the Asbury Park scene, including future members of the Asbury Jukes and the E Street Band. Some of these early bands include Glory Road, Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom, and The Bruce Springsteen Band.

Between 1970 and early 1973, Sancious split his time between New Jersey and Richmond, Virginia, where he worked as a sessionist on commercial jingles. While there, he met drummer and fellow Jerseyite Ernest Carter.

Springsteen, who regularly gigged both locales, invited Sancious to play on the debut album by the E Street Band, mostly recorded in late June 1972. The ultimate album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., includes three songs (“Spirit in the Night,” “Blinded by the Light,” “For You”) that were later covered by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.

In July 1972, Sancious cut demos with Carter and E Street bassist Garry Tallent. Producer Wes Farrell, who retained the rights to these demos, issued them without the artist’s consent on the 1976 Chelsea Records release David Sancious.

Springsteen named the E Street Band after the block where Sancious was raised by his mother. The band used her garage at 1107 E St. in Belmar, N.J., as rehearsal space. In June 1973, Sancious joined the band, adding elements of classical and big band jazz to their sound. That summer, they recorded The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, which shows his influence in the complex musical arrangements. Across the album’s seven lengthy tracks, Sancious plays piano, Fender Rhodes, clavinet, Hammond organ (notably the solo on “Kitty’s Back”), and soprano saxophone (on “The E Street Shuffle”). He also arranged the strings on “New York City Serenade.”

In August 1974, Sancious and Carter performed on a new Springsteen track, “Born to Run,” for an upcoming E Street Band album. Later that month, the pair broke off to form their own band, Tone, with bassist Gerald Carboy.



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