Tony Saunders’ life story could be the script to a hit
movie. Son of legendary keyboardist and composer
Merl Saunders, Tony’s life has been a musical adventure.
As a child he was taught piano by Herbie Hancock, and
for his tenth birthday he was given an electric
organ from Sly Stone.
Growing up around his dad and the Fantasy Records
family of artists, he was constantly surrounded by music
royalty, including famed record and film executive Saul Zaentz.
Tony’s passion for the bass guitar began when he started watching
sessions with bassist Anthony Davis, who played with Walter Hawkins,
and Lee Miles of Miles Davis fame. “I got to see them both in the studio
on a project my dad was producing. These guys had a feel that drew me to
the bass. "That’s all I wanted after seeing them play."
Tony graduated from the prestigeous Conservatory of Music in San Francisco
as a piano player, but soon began honing his skills on the bass. He was influenced
by the sounds of James Jamison, Stanley Clark, Jack Cassidy and others. Tom Fogarty
of Creedence Clearwater Revival gave him his first bass guitar. Chuck Rainey and John
Kahn both took an interest in Tony, giving him bass lessons and a legacy to live up to.
By time he was 17 he was playing his first gig with Jerry Garcia and his dad in the Merl
Saunders / Jerry Garcia Band.
Tony's musical journey has continued on from that era through to the present. He has
played and recorded with an astounding list of great musical talents, including Eric Clapton,
David Crosby, Jo Sample, Chaka Khan, Ringo Star, Bo Diddley, The Hawkins Family, and others
too many to count. "This just touches the edge of who I have been blessed to play with", says
Saunders. Tony has played on hundreds of albums, won two Emmy Awards for soundtracks,
and written award winning commercial jingles and movie scores.
Tony continues to record his own projects and produces for an impressive list of talent at
his state of the art studio in Northern California. Tony’s latest single "Uptown Jazz" climbed
to number 5 on the Adult Contemporary Groove Jazz Charts. It was released in September,
2015. Tony's newest CD "Uptown Jazz" was released in March 2016. His newest single,
"Shaniya", was also released in March, 2016. The song is named after his granddaughter
Shaniya, who helped him record the song.
B I O G R A P H Y
I Romance The Bass As I Romance Life...