Norman David

Norman David

Musicians | Instrument: Saxophone, soprano | Location: Philadelphia

David writes beautifully, with a unique... voice in the field of modern jazz composition... [He] plays fierce soprano saxophone, holding up strong next to Dick Oatts, George Garzone and other world-class players.
—David Adler

Updated: May 28, 2022

Born: September 24

Norman David directs, plays with and composes the music for his ensemble, The Eleventet. For almost 20 years beginning in the early 1980s, David led versions of the Eleventet in Boston, central Maine, and NYC. Among the musicians who have played with the band are George Garzone, Dick Oatts, Tim Hagans, John Fedchock, John Swana, Seamus Blake, Terell Stafford, Joe Magnarelli, and John Hébert.

In 2000, David debuted the first Philadelphia version of The Eleventet and in mid-2007, he finalized an ongoing Philadelphia roster of players, comprised of the cream of that city's jazz artists. The Eleventet is featured exclusively throughout the year at Plays and Players Theater, one of Philadelphia's venerable venues for the creative arts. Additionally, the band performs at other notable locales and events in the region.

Norman David, a veteran of the music scenes in Boston and Philadelphia, is a prolific composer and arranger, soprano saxophonist, author and music educator. As leader/composer or sideman in the U.S., Canada and Europe, he has appeared with numerous jazz luminaries, as well as with various all-star ensembles. He has been awarded grants in recognition of his jazz composing from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Composers Forum. He also continues to enjoy success as a composer of art music, his works having been commissioned and/or premiered by the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, the Temple University Wind Symphony, Alea III, The Network For New Music, and Charles Abramovic.

David’s text book, Jazz Arranging (Scarecrow Press), continues to have a wide readership and to be adopted for course work at many colleges and universities. His second book, The Ella Fitzgerald Companion (Praeger Publishers), an examination of the development and artistry of that great American singer, has received consistently favorable reviews and is on the shelves of hundreds of academic and public libraries in the U.S. and abroad.

Norman David is Artist-in-Residence and the Coordinator of Jazz Composition and Arranging at Temple University. He has previously taught at Berklee College of Music, Colby College, University of the Arts, Franklin & Marshall College, Ursinus College, and the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition from Temple University, a Master of Music in Composition from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University. In addition, he completed advanced studies in arranging and saxophone at Berklee College of Music.


American Composers Forum Subito Grant

National Endowment for the Arts: Fellowship Grant in Jazz Composition

University of the Arts Faculty Enrichment Grants


All About Jazz Articles

Live Review

Norman David and Group 4 at Chris’ Jazz Cafe

Read "Norman David and Group 4 at Chris’ Jazz Cafe" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Norman David and Group 4 Chris' Jazz Café Philadelphia, PA April 25, 2023 Norman David is a saxophonist/clarinetist, composer, arranger, and educator par excellence, and for many years has directed his high-powered larger ensemble, the Eleventet, first in Boston, then at Colby College in Maine, and for the last 25 or so years in Philadelphia. For a short time around the the turn of the new millenium, David fronted a small ...


Norman David: Forty-Year Wizard of The Eleventet

Read "Norman David: Forty-Year Wizard of The Eleventet" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

A few years ago, a musician friend suggested I go hear a band that was playing at a place in Bella Vista, Philadelphia, a neighborhood with a significant jazz history (violinist Joe Venuti and guitarist Eddie Lang lived there and are honored with several plaques and a mural) -but not much current music to speak of. The venue turned out to be a bar-restaurant with a recently remodeled music room on the second floor with surprisingly good acoustics and sound ...

Album Review

Norman David: The Eleventet - Please Call

Read "The Eleventet - Please Call" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Clarinetist and soprano saxophonist Norman David founded and has been leading Philadelphia's Eleventet for over three decades. After thirty years playing in in and around the city, the band found their recording groove with their first CD, At This Time (Norman David/Coolcraft, 2011). Now, in this new release, they deliver swinging and ear-popping sounds while at the same time offering nuances, subtleties, and creative ideas that generate interest for the more serious listener. David plays a mean soprano sax, while ...

Live Review

Norman David Eleventet: Philadelphia, PA May 27, 2011

Read "Norman David Eleventet: Philadelphia, PA May 27, 2011" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Norman David Eleventet Little Bar Philadelphia, PAMay 27, 2011 With the closing of Zanzibar Blue and Ortlieb's Jazzhaus, Philadelphia has lost two of its iconic jazz clubs, further diluting an already limited constellation of venues. So it's encouraging to see music coordinators Greg Matthews and Mike Boone taking up some of the slack via a jazz series they recently inaugurated at the Little Bar located at the corner of 8th and Fitzwater Streets in the ...

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Norman David and The Eleventet - New Album!

Norman David and The Eleventet - New Album!

Source: Norman David

A new album by Norman David and The Eleventet is set for release on the CoolCraft label on May 20. Titled At This Time, the album features ten new breathtaking compositions by Philadelphia jazz stalwart, Norman David. His band, The Eleventet, is comprised of some of the top jazz artists in the Philly/New York region, including Dick Oatts, George Garzone, Tim Hagans, Tom Lawton, and John Hébert. The performance is electrifying, with crisp ensemble work and monster solos. The album ...

VICTOR L. SCHERMER - ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM "...reed player Norman of the most innovative arrangers in the business."

DAVID ADLER - PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY "David writes beautifully, with a unique...voice in the field of modern jazz composition.... [He] plays fierce soprano saxophone, holding up strong next to Dick Oatts, George Garzone and other world-class players."

RJ JOHNSON - WWW.ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM "With a seemingly endless repertoire, the band provides a unique experience...It was obvious that David's musical palette extends far beyond the realm of jazz....His style relied on the versatility of the band and ultimately allowed a more natural sound to emerge.... [The] Eleventet is one of the city's best-known jazz groups, featuring some of Philadelphia's best soloists...Each musician was well-versed in the jazz tradition and a conventional smaller group setting where the freedom to explore new musical territory was uninhibited. What made the group unique was that none of this was lost simply because there were eleven players instead of three or four. Few groups have as much fun as The Eleventet appears to, at each and every show."

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Primary Instrument

Saxophone, soprano



Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Coordinator of Jazz Composition & Arranging - Temple University: Arranging, Composition, Graduate Arranging, Graduate Jazz History, Ensembles

Adjunct Associate Professor - University of the Arts: Studio Composition, Orchestration, Jazz History, Theory, Ensembles

Contact Norman David for information and to arrange private instruction—online and in person.

Clinic/Workshop Information

Arranging / Composition: Author of the highly-rated Jazz Arranging (Scarecrow Press)

Masterclasses/Clinics on arranging and composition, high school to college and advanced.

Speaking Engagements / Guest Lectures: Author of The Ella Fitzgerald Companion (Praeger Publishers)

"Ella Fitzgerald and the Evolution of Jazz Singing"


Tuesday Overture

From: At This Time
By Norman David