Key player in the ecstatic jazz movement, Sanders' most famous recording is probably Thembi, an amazing blend of late 60s jazz and African tribal influences. Sanders' moved away from the ecstatic scene, returning to traditional jazz in the 80s,&but has recently again swung back to that unique blend of Eastern spirituality and pan-national music.

Farrell Saunders, from Arkansas ("Pharoah" was Sun Ra's idea, natch). Tenor saxophone player of John Coltrane lineage; after hitting NYC in the mid-60s he got a chance to join Trane's group, and his "Albert Ayler on acid" style helped (further) push the group's envelope. Did great sideman turns on LPs by Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, and Carla Bley - on his own, he lapsed into blissed-out hippie crap for years, before a return to his hard bop/Trane roots. Overrated, but often fun.

Family history
Pharoah Sanders was born in Little Rock Arkansas on the 13th of October 1940. His parents were both very musical and taught the subject (his father publicly and his mother taught privately)

Musical Background
Sanders is well known for playing the tenor and soprano saxophone, and on occasions flute as well, this however wasnt the case when he first started to play at high school, he went through a vary of instruments starting from piano and going through to drums (he does however dabble on the percussion still). At this time his early favourites were Harold Land, James Moody, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker

Time moved on and Sanders moved over to the San Fransico Bay Area where he played in a a Rhythm and Blues and avant-garde jazz, a few years on Sanders finally moved over to New York in 1962, here he was working with people such as Billy Higgins and Don Cherry. Sanders was also working with John Coltrane albeit unofficially

It was at this time that Sanders gained his harsh, shrieking improvisation that contained multiphonics but also he combined them with sweeping runs with very indefinite pitch.

When Coltrane died in 1967, Sanders stayed with Alice Coltrane, then from the years of 1969 to 1970 he played and led a group with Leone Thomas.

Personal Style

Sanders was very well known for his distinctive sound, including the split reed technique. Although Sanders counted his tenor as his main instrument, he did some recordings while playing on the soprano sax, flutes, and percussion. He was capable of producing some most incredible sounds from his tenor, and according to rumours and jazz legend he is capable of causing a sax to shriek for minutes after taking it out of his mouth.

Mostly although the 70s Sanders was exploring and experimenting the combination of West and South African rhythms into free jazz, at this time to help him with this he was using such techniques with layers of percussion and voices.

Solo Albums

  • Pharoah Sanders Quintet - 1964
  • The Latin Jazz Quintet-oh! Pharoah Speak - mid 60s
  • Pharoah Sanders - Tauhid - 1966
  • Pharoah Sanders - 1968
  • Pharoah Sanders - Karma - 1969
  • Pharoah Sanders - Jewels of thought - 1969
  • Pharoah Sanders - Summun Bukmun Umyun - 1970

Players who played with Sanders

Ending note
One of the most striking tunes ive heard from Sanders would be Doktor Pitt, here he displays such talent and a range of playing, from the fantastic overblown harmonics, to the way he will strip down and create a way version of a Coltrane solo that includes wide-open lyricism and an unforgettable pernertrating tone. Include this with his normal howling, screaming and honks, and you have got the solo of a brilliant man.

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