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Remembering Pharoah Sanders

Pharoah Sanders performs at the Krakow Jazz Festival in Poland in 2018.
Omar Marques
Getty Images
Pharoah Sanders performs at the Krakow Jazz Festival in Poland in 2018.

Legendary tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders died on September 24. He was 81.

Sanders was one of the most influential and respected saxophonists of the "Free Jazz" movement in the 1960s. He was known for collaborating with John Coltrane on Meditations, the spirit fueled follow up to Coltrane's A Love Supreme. Sanders also was featured with Coltrane on two live recordings, "A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle" and "Live at the Village Vanguard Again!", showcasing Coltrane, Sanders and the band in roof-raising performances.

His trademark fiery saxophone style, with sheets of sound, overblowing and more, transported the listener into a direct experience of sacred, spirit filled jazz. Sanders' single best-known piece of music was "The Creator Has a Master Plan," an expansive performance from 1969. Sanders revisited the song with organist Joey DeFrancesco on the 2019 recording "In the Key of the Universe".

A bandleader in his own right, he released a live recording in 2003 which featured his band of the time in top form, with the saxophonist performing overwhelming, white hot saxophone solos.
Sanders was also a frequent sideman and guest on many adventuresome recordings since the 1960s, notably on the Sonny Sharrock recording Ask The Ages, where he was reunited with Coltrane band mate Elvin Jones for a blazing, inspired session. He also joined fellow tenor saxophonist David Murray & The Gwo-Ka Masters in 2004 for an energetic, exotic date.

Pharoah Sanders performed on stages all over the world to enthusiastic audiences, including the Iowa City Jazz Festival in 2013.

Chris Cooke/KIOS
Saxophonist Pharoah Sanders with William Henderson (p), Dennis Carrol (b) and George Fludas (d), Iowa City Jazz Festival, 2013.

The Last Call will feature music from the legendary saxophonist for your listening pleasure this month and during October as well.

More information can be found at the link below.

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