2013 Honorary Member
Born in Little Rock in 1940, Pharoah Sanders is a tenor saxophonist known worldwide not just for the significance of his early work with some of jazz’s most celebrated artists (especially John Coltrane) but for the continued relevance of his performances and compositions today. After making a name for himself on the West Coast, Sanders moved to New York in 1962, where he worked with founding members of the city’s avant-garde scene, including Ornette Coleman (who once called Sanders “probably the best tenor player in the world”), Don Cherry, and Billy Higgins. He worked and recorded with Coltrane from 1965 until the latter’s death in 1967. Recordings made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, especially those with vocalist Leon Thomas, became widely known, particularly “The Creator Has a Master Plan” from the album Karma (1969). Like many of his contemporaries, much of Sanders’s music was influenced by non-Western traditions, especially those of Morocco: 1994’s The Trance Of Seven Colors was recorded there and documented a meeting between Sanders and master Gnawa musician Maleem Mahmoud Ghania. Now a resident of Los Angeles, Sanders remains a potent force on the current jazz scene, touring internationally with his quartet.
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