LOS ANGELES — (AP) — Pharoah Sanders, an influential tenor saxophonist revered in the jazz world for the spirituality of his work, has announced, He has passed away. He is 81 years old.
Sanders, who began his career with John Coltrane in the 1960s, died early Saturday in Los Angeles, the label Luaka Bop, which released his 2021 album “Promises,” tweeted. . It doesn’t say why. Phone messages to Luaka Bop in New York were not immediately returned.
“We are saddened to share the news of the passing of Pharaoh Sanders. He passed away peacefully earlier this morning in the company of his family and friends in Los Angeles. The most beautiful man forever and ever, may he rest in peace,” the brand said in a statement. The message on Twitter said it was accompanied by a heart emoji.
One of the saxophonist’s most famous works is the two-part “The Creator Has a Master Plan” on his 1969 album “Karma”. The combined track is nearly 33 minutes long.
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1940, Sanders began his early musical career playing drums, then clarinet in church. In high school, he started renting out the school’s saxophone. After high school, he moved to Oakland, California, where he planned to attend art school. But he soon moved to New York to join the city’s avant-garde jazz scene. He told The New Yorker magazine in 2020 that he hitchhiked across the country.
When he arrived in 1962, he could barely afford to live in New York. “I was trying to survive somehow,” he told the magazine. “I used to work a few jobs here and there, earn five dollars, buy some food, buy some pizza. I had no money at all.”
In 1965, he joined Coltrane’s band. “I didn’t understand why he wanted me to play with him because at the time I didn’t feel like I was ready to play with John Coltrane,” Sanders said. “He always told me, ‘play.’ That’s what I did.”
After Coltrane’s death, Sanders continued to play with his wife, Alice Coltrane. He also started leading his own band. His most commercial successes come from Impulse Records, including the famous “Karma” album.
After more than a decade of performing but not recording an album, Sanders has teamed up with producers Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra to release the acclaimed “Promises” in 2021. Rolling Stone called it “both astonishingly tiny and astonishingly gorgeous.”
Sanders, known for his so-called spiritual jazz style, is still actively playing, admitting in a 2020 New Yorker interview: “A lot of times I don’t know what I want to play.
“So I just started playing and trying to get it right, to add some other feeling to the music,” he said. “Like, I play a note, and maybe that note could mean love. Then another note could mean something else. Keep going until it develops into — maybe something beautiful.”
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