Pharoah Sanders, legendary jazz saxophonist, dies at 81

Pharaoh Sandersthe legendary tenor saxophonist who played alongside John Coltrane in the mid-1960s, died. He was 81 years old.


Ramsey Lewis

Ramsey Lewis

Ramsey Lewis, famous jazz pianist, dies at 87


Sanders’ death was announced on Saturday September 24 by his label Luaka Bop, which released the influential Jazz the musician’s 2021 album, promisesa collaboration with Floating points and the London Symphony Orchestra. A cause of death was not provided.

More from Billboard

“We are devastated to share that Pharoah Sanders has passed away,” Luaka Bop wrote on Twitter. “He passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family and friends in Los Angeles earlier this morning. Always and forever the most beautiful human being, may he rest in peace.

Born in Little Rock, Ark., on October 13, 1940, Sanders – whose real name was Ferrell Sanders – moved to the Bay Area in the late 1950s before moving to New York, where he met his colleague jazz artist Sun Ra, who encouraged him to take the name Pharaoh.

Sanders initially struggled trying to establish himself in New York. “Unable to make a living from his music, Sanders took to pawning his horn, working non-musical jobs and sometimes sleeping on the subway,” the late saxophonist said. website bed.

Sanders eventually made a name for himself performing alongside other jazz luminaries like Don Cherry and Billy Higgins. In 1965, Sanders joined Coltrane’s band on tenor saxophone. During this time, Coltrane released several avant-garde masterpieces, including his 1966 album, Ascent. Sanders performed with Coltrane until the jazz icon’s death in 1967. Following Coltrane’s passing, Sanders briefly performed with his widow, Alice Coltrane, before charting his own path as a key figure in the spiritual scene of jazz.

In 1969, Sanders released his most famous album, Karma, which featured the nearly 33-minute track “The Creator Has a Master Plan”. The album peaked at number 188 on the Billboard 200 in August 1969. Over the next two decades, Sanders continued to release music as a frontman and sideman, working with other jazz groups, including McCoy Tyner , Sonny Sharrock, Idris Muhammad and Leon Thomas.

After a long hiatus from the recording studio, Sanders returned in 2021 with the critically acclaimed album promises, a collaboration with Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble peaked at No. 1 on BillboardChart of Contemporary Jazz Albums by .

Click here to read the full article.

Ada J. Kenney