Pharoah Sanders

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About Pharoah Sanders

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1940, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders stands as a crucial link between free jazz and spiritual jazz. After high school, he moved to Oakland, where he had relatives; he played locally for a couple of years, meeting and befriending John Coltrane along the way, before relocating to New York in 1961. Sanders played off and on in Sun Ra’s Arkestra, but his career took off via his work with Coltrane, beginning with the influential Ascension in 1965, which blended Sanders’ caustic, fiery tenor attack with a meditative intensity that absorbed ’Trane’s spiritual seeking. Sanders went on to play with Don Cherry and Alice Coltrane, and, after dropping his debut album on the ESP-Disk imprint in 1965, he began a long association with Impulse Records, becoming a leading figure in the early-’70s spiritual jazz scene. In the decades since, he’s maintained a post-bop sound while recording with a variety of collaborators, including master Moroccan musician Mahmoud Guinia in the 1990s and electronic music producer Floating Points on the acclaimed 2021 album Promises.

Little Rock, AR, United States
October 13, 1940

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