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Pharoah Sanders (1940 - )

Lifespan: 1940 -

Related: American music - jazz - Strata East Records - Norman Connors - Cecil McBee - free jazz - Sun Ra - kozmigroov - saxophone

Thembi (1971) - Pharoah Sanders


Pharoah Sanders (born October 13, 1940) is a United States jazz saxophonist.

Sanders was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, under the name Farrell Sanders. He began his professional career playing tenor saxophone in Oakland, California.

Sanders moved to New York City in 1962. He received his nickname "Pharoah" from Sun Ra, with whom Sanders performed. He came to prominence playing with John Coltrane's band starting in 1965.

Sanders has collaborated with Bill Laswell, Jah Wobble and others. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharoah_Sanders [Feb 2005]


Pharoah Sanders was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1940. He moved to New York in 1962, struggled in obscurity for two years, then made his recording debut on ESP. He came to the attention of John Coltrane and from mid-1965 until 'Trane's death in 1967 he was usually a part of Coltrane's controversial group with his role being largely to create violent sound explorations. Sanders' most rewarding recordings took place during the late '60s/early '70s for Impulse with and without Leon Thomas. His later more interesting work were his collaborations with Bill Laswell and Terry Callier's comeback LP 'Timepeace'.

Some Recordings


  • http://members.aol.com/ishorst/love/sanders.html Pharoah Sanders, 'The Creator Has A Masterplan'
    Pharoah Sanders, originally Farrell Sanders from Little Rock, Arkansas, became well-known in the local jazz scene in Oakland, California, in the early 1960s. In the middle of the decade he moved to New York, where he worked with Sun Ra and other luminaries of the new jazz avant garde. He was asked by John Coltrane to join his group in 1965, and so became a part of Coltrane's most experimental unit. After Coltrane's death in 1967 he continued in musical collaboration with Coltrane's second wife, Alice.
  • http://members.aol.com/ishorst/love/discsand.html Pharoah Sanders discography


    1. Beats & Pieces V.2 [Amazon US]
      has 'Freedom' and loads of other good tracks.

    2. Thembi - Pharoah Sanders [Amazon.com]

    3. Message From Home - Pharoah Sanders [Amazon.com]
      Super prolific Producer/bass man Bill Laswell ( Material, Bootsy Collins, Last Poets, Bernie Worrell projects) combines his tough urban funk sensibilities with artificially sweetened Afro-pop and lays them under Pharoah's otherwordly saxophone. The end result of this experiment is a couple of cool songs including the exciting Kora drumming and bass guitar interplay on "Our Roots.." and the oceanic squealing solos that stretch throughout this experiment that fizzles. But it ain't Pharoah or the Brothers who perform on the African drums faults!

    4. Pharoah Sanders - Karma[1 CD, Amazon US]
      Although introduced as a protégé of John Coltrane and touted by many as his heir apparent, reedman Pharoah Sanders quickly proved his own man. His shared interest in the "cosmic" music of Coltrane's final period belies the fact that Sanders frequently plays with an unhurried sense of peace and satisfaction rarely found in his mentor's music. His use of space, African and Asian motifs and instruments, and simple, repetitive melodies also pointed the way for jazz, rock, and new age musicians in the '70s and '80s, while his sometimes raucous use of harsh, shrieking runs influenced many of jazz's most adventurous saxophonists.
      The centerpiece of Karma is the marathon half-hour octet recording "The Creator Has a Master Plan." Although the track features a warm vocal by Leon Thomas, its true feature artist for almost the entire length is Sanders, who carries the melody, feel, and improvisation firmly on his shoulders. All of Sanders's key elements--Afro-centric spiritualism, sweeping use of mood from long, relaxed intervals to frenetic cacophony, and a deep sense of melody and rhythm--are in evidence. The album's religious feeling is cemented by the album's closer, "Colors," which serves as a deeply felt invocation. --Fred Goodman

    5. With a Heartbeat (2003) - Pharoah Sanders [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      Is there a more enthralling, mesmerizing, glorious sound in jazz than the sound of Pharoah Sanders' tenor saxophone? Not that I know of. I personally am willing to put up with almost any amount of new agey faux world jazz to hear that sound in all its manifest glory. Actually, I have to confess that if it's done right, I really don't mind--even dig--that world jazz vibe that Bill Laswell (often, but not always) brilliantly brings to life. And believe me, it's firing on all cylinders on this disc. Check out esp. Trilok Girtu (tablas and voice) on "Alankara." I don't know about you, but that staccato Indian vocalese, combined with stellar tabla playing, almost always does it for me.

      But it's still Sanders' tone that makes it for me on this outing. He has a richness, an authority, a depth, that no other tenor sax player has ever (or will ever) achieve. I believe I read somewhere that he spends hours every just playing long tones, seeking to perfect his tonal quality. Even at the higher registers there's still a burning, burnished quality that others only grasp at and never achieve.

      All the musicians (and this is a very fine band) get their moment in the sun. I especially like the electric sitar of Nicky Skopelitis that opens "Gamaka," the last cut. Graham Haynes, featured as co-leader on this disc, also displays some very fine, if somewhat stealth, cornet playing. But he shines on "Gamaka."

      To these ears, this is the finest disc Pharoah Sanders has ever made. You'd be insane to miss it. --Jan P. Dennis for amazon.com

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