Pharoah Sanders

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Pharoah Sanders ( German Jazz Festival 2013)
Pharoah Sanders and William Henderson (Old Pawn Shop Cologne, 2008)

Pharoah Sanders , actually Ferell Sanders , (born October 13, 1940 in Little Rock , Arkansas ) is an American jazz musician, tenor saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist. The stage name Pharoah gave him Sun Ra , with whom he performed in New York in the early 1960s.


Sanders grew up in a musical family, his parents were music teachers . He first learned the clarinet and later switched to the tenor saxophone during high school and became familiar with jazz. His early role models were Harold Land , James Moody , Sonny Rollins , Charlie Parker and John Coltrane . As a teenager, he played on local Blues - gigs in Little Rock and so earned his pocket money. After high school, he moved to Oakland, California , where he studied music. During this time he played jazz and rhythm & blues in clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area and made a name for himself as a musician.

In the early 1960s he moved to New York, where he tried to gain a foothold as a professional musician. Until 1965 he could not achieve any success worth mentioning, so that he was forced to take various part-time jobs and even had to mortgage his instrument. During this time he played with some representatives of free jazz such as Sun Ra and Don Cherry . In 1963 he founded his own band with pianist John Hicks , bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Billy Higgins . The group caught the attention of John Coltrane, so in 1964 Sanders was asked to perform with Coltrane's band. The joint appearances became more frequent until 1965, although Sanders was never officially considered a member of Coltrane's band. Sanders' and Coltrane's music from this period throws traditional jazz formulas and functional harmony overboard and instead focuses on tones such as those featured on Coltrane's 1965 album Ascension .

After Coltrane's death, Sanders mainly worked with his own ensembles, but also with Alice Coltrane . After a debut album for the ESP label with pianist Jane Getz , he released several albums for the Impulse label from 1966 to 1973 ! . His first publication on this label Tauhid selected Rolling Stone magazine in 2013 in its list The 100 best jazz albums at number 89. This was followed by a trip to Arista . From the late 1970s to 1987, his albums appeared on the small independent label Theresa. Since 1987 he released under the labels Evidence and Timeless, where Evidence Theresa took over and re-released his albums from this time. 1995 Message from Home , which was produced by Bill Laswell , appeared on the major label Verve ; Last year, Sanders could be heard alongside Mahmoud Ghania on The Seven Colors of Trance (Axiom).

Sanders is considered to be one of the founders of ethno-jazz , whereby he often included Islam and the spiritual traditions of Africa in his work and made them the subject of his music.


Pharoah Sanders Quartet ( INNtöne , 2013)
title Published Label
Pharoah's First 1964 ESP
Tawhid 1966 Impulses!
Izipho Zam 1969 Strata-East
karma 1969 Impulses!
Jewels of Thought 1969 Impulses!
Summun, Bukmun, Umyun (Deaf, Dumb, Blind) 1970 Impulses!
Thembi 1971 Impulses!
Village of the Pharoahs 1971 Impulses!
Black Unity 1971 Impulses!
Live at the East 1971 Impulses!
Wisdom Through Music 1972 Impulses!
elevation 1973 Impulses!
Love in Us All 1973 ASD
Voyage to Uranus 1974 Capitol
Pharoah 1977 India Navigation
Love will find a way 1977 Arista
Beyond a dream 1978 Arista
Journey to the One 1980 Theresa (Evidence)
live 1981 Theresa (Evidence)
Rejoice 1981 Theresa (Evidence)
Heart is a Melody 1982 Theresa (Evidence)
Shukuru 1985 Theresa (Evidence)
Oh Lord, Let Me Do No Wrong 1989 Columbia
A Prayer Before Dawn 1987 Theresa (Evidence)
Africa 1987 Timeless
Moonchild 1989 Timeless
Welcome to Love (Live) 1990 Timeless
Crescent with Love 1992 Evidence
Naima 1995 Evidence
Message from Home 1996 verve
Save our Children 1999 verve
Spirits 2000 Meta
With a heartbeat 2003 Evolver
The Creator Has a Master Plan (Live) 2003 Venus
Live in Paris (1975) 2020 Transversal Disques

Web links

Commons : Pharoah Sanders  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Rolling Stone: The 100 Best Jazz Albums . Retrieved November 16, 2016.