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Legendary Jazz saxophonist is 81 years old – The Hollywood Reporter

Pharoah Sanders, the legendary tenor saxophonist who performed with John Coltrane in the mid-1960s, has died. He was 81 years old.

Sanders’ departure was announced Saturday (September 24) by his record label Luaka Bop, which released an influential jazz album in 2021, Promise, a collaboration with Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra. Cause of death not provided.

“We are heartbroken to share that Pharoah Sanders has passed away,” wrote Luaka Bop Twitter. “He passed away peacefully surrounded by loving family and friends in Los Angeles early this morning. Always and forever the most beautiful person, may he rest in peace.”

Born in Little Rock, Ark., On October 13, 1940, Sanders – real name Ferrell Sanders – moved to the Bay Area in the late 1950s before moving to New York City, where he met jazz artist Sun Ra, who encouraged him to take the name Pharoah.

Sanders initially struggled while trying to establish himself in New York. The late saxophonist’s website reads: “Unable to make a living off his music, Sanders had to cut his horns, work in non-music jobs and sometimes sleep on the subway.

Sanders eventually made a name for himself performing with fellow jazz artists like Don Cherry and Billy Higgins. In 1965, Sanders joined the Coltrane with the tenor saxophone. During that time, Coltrane released a number of avant-garde masterpieces, including his 1966 album, Ascension. Sanders played with Coltrane until the jazz icon’s death in 1967. After Coltrane’s death, Sanders performed briefly with his widow, Alice Coltrane, before forging his own path. himself as a key figure in spiritual jazz.

In 1969, Sanders released his most famous album, Karma, which includes the nearly 33-minute track “The Creator Has a Master Plan”. The album peaked at number 188 on the Billboard 200 in August 1969. For the next two decades, Sanders continued to release music as both lead and curator, collaborating with artists. Jazz colleagues include McCoy Tyner, Sonny Sharrock, Idris Muhammad and Leon Thomas.

After a long hiatus from the recording studio, Sanders returns in 2021 with a critically acclaimed album Promise, a collaboration with Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra. The set reached number 1 on BillboardsChart of Contemporary Jazz Albums.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.

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