Jazz legend Pharaoh Sanders passed away at the age of 81

Jazz legend Pharaoh Sanders passed away at the age of 81

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American saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders has died at the age of 81. according to statement From his record company, he passed away peacefully in Los Angeles, surrounded by family and friends.

Sanders worked alongside John Coltrane with whom he pushed the musical boundaries of their instruments, was a pioneer in soul jazz, and has several major albums to his credit.

free jazz music

Pharoah Sanders was born Ferrell Sanders in Little Rock, Arkansas. He played a lot in San Francisco at first, nicknamed “Little Rock”.

In 1961, Sanders moved to New York, where he struggled to find a job. While he was looking for part-time jobs to make ends meet and sleeping on the city’s subways, he was playing with artists at night who got involved in the music movement. Free jazz. At that time, there were also musicians such as composer Son Ra and trumpeter Don Cherry.

In 1965, John Coltrane asked Sanders to join his band. It turned out to be a good match. Together they played controversial free jazz, in which all traditional jazz laws have been discarded.

That freedom in music was in keeping with the time in which they lived. In the 1960s, the African American population was still fighting vigorously for equal civil rights. That was the time of Martin Luther King, Black Power, and the Civil Rights Act. It also directed the avant-garde jazz of the time strongly against established structures.

How did it look? Here you can listen to two saxophonists (if you dare):

In the years following Coltrane’s death in 1967, Sanders developed into the leader of his own bands. He played more spiritual jazz and was inspired by African music. This resulted in one of his best-selling albums, Karma.

Karma (1969), the Creator has a master plan:

In the ensuing years, Sanders continued to play in various musical formations. He mixed rhythm and blues in his youth with avant-garde jazz and African music, such as Moroccan music Gnaoua music.

He toured all over the world until recent years. In 2018 he was still at NN North Sea Jazz Festival, in 2019 at Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ.

With Sanders’ death, the last ‘holy trinity’ of saxophonists of the time has passed: John Coltrane, Froah Sanders and Albert Eyler met “Father (Coltrane), son (Sanders) and the Holy Ghost (Eiler)”.

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