Pharoah Sanders, influential jazz saxophonist, dies at 81

Sep 24, 2022, 10:08 AM | Updated: Sep 26, 2022, 7:07 am
FILE - Jazz saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in N...

FILE - Jazz saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Friday, May 2, 2014. The influential tenor saxophonist revered in the jazz world for the spirituality of his work, has died, his record label announced on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. He was 81. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pharoah Sanders, the influential tenor saxophonist revered in the jazz world for the spirituality of his work, has died, his record label announced. He was 81.

Sanders, who launched his career playing alongside John Coltrane in the 1960s, died in Los Angeles early Saturday, said the tweet from Luaka Bop, the label that released his 2021 album, “Promises.” It did not specify a cause. A phone message to Luaka Bop in New York was not immediately returned.

“We are devastated to share that Pharoah Sanders has passed away. He died peacefully surrounded by loving family and friends in Los Angeles earlier this morning. Always and forever the most beautiful human being, may he rest in peace,” said the label’s message on Twitter, accompanied by a heart emoji.

Among the saxophonist’s best-known works was his two-part “The Creator Has a Master Plan,” from the “Karma” album released in 1969. The combined track is nearly 33 minutes long.

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1940, Sanders began his early musical life by playing drums, then the clarinet in church. In high school, he began renting out the school saxophone. After high school he moved to Oakland, California, where he intended to attend art school. But he soon moved to New York to join the city’s avant-garde jazz scene. He hitchhiked his way across country, he told The New Yorker magazine in 2020.

Arriving in 1962, he could hardly afford the New York life. “I was trying to survive some kind of way,” 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 couldn’t figure out why he wanted me to play with him, because I didn’t feel like, at the time, that I was ready to play with John Coltrane,” Sanders said. “He always told me, ‘Play.’ That’s what I did.”

When Coltrane died, Sanders continued playing for a time with his wife, Alice Coltrane. He also started leading his own bands. His most commercially successful work came for Impulse Records, including the renowned “Karma” album.

After more than a decade of performing but not recording albums, Sanders released the much-admired “Promises” in 2021, with producer Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra. Rolling Stone called it “both startlingly minimal and arrestingly gorgeous.”

Known for his style of so-called spiritual jazz, Sanders, still actively playing, confessed in the 2020 New Yorker interview that “a lot of (the) time I don’t know what I want to play.

“So I just start playing, and try to make it right, and make it join to some other kind of feeling in the music,” he said. “Like, I play one note, maybe that one note might mean love. And then another note might mean something else. Keep on going like that until it develops into — maybe something beautiful.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

President Joe Biden listens as French President Emmanuel Macron speaks before a toast during a Stat...
Associated Press

Germany welcomes Biden comments in trade dispute

BERLIN (AP) — Germany on Friday welcomed President Joe Biden’s apparent willingness to discuss tweaking U.S. legislation that European leaders say unfairly discriminates against their industries. Biden acknowledged during a visit to Washington by French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday that there were “glitches” in the Inflation Reduction Act, which favors American-made climate technology for […]
7 hours ago
FILE - A station passageway is crowded with commuters in Tokyo, April 27, 2020. Japan’s parliamen...
Associated Press

Japan OKs $216B extra budget to counter impact of inflation

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s parliament approved a hefty 29 trillion yen ($216 billion) supplementary budget Friday aimed at countering the blow to household finances from rising food and utility costs and the weaker yen. It is the second batch of supplementary spending this year to help boost the economy. The extra spending, funded mainly by […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Pentagon debuts its new stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s newest nuclear stealth bomber is making its public debut after years of secret development and as part of the Pentagon’s answer to rising concerns over a future conflict with China. The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years. Almost every aspect of the program […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Protesters hold up blank papers and chant slogans as they march in protest in Beijing, Sunda...
Associated Press

Hong Kong divided over China’s COVID-19 protests

HONG KONG (AP) — The recent wave of protests against China’s anti-virus restrictions was a ray of hope for some supporters of Hong Kong’s own pro-democracy movement after local authorities stifled it using a national security law enacted in 2020. Thomas So, who joined about a dozen students from the Chinese mainland staging a rare […]
7 hours ago
Ukrainian servicemen give the first aid to a soldier wounded in a battle with the Russian troops in...
Associated Press

Official says over 10,000 Ukrainian troops killed in war

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A top adviser to Ukraine’s president has cited military chiefs as saying 10,000 to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the country’s nine-month struggle against Russia’s invasion, a rare comment on such figures and far below estimates of Ukrainian casualties from Western leaders. Russian forces kept up rocket attacks on […]
7 hours ago
In this photo released by Army's public relations wing 'Inter Services Public Relations', Pakistan'...
Associated Press

US names anti-Pakistan groups ‘terrorist’ organizations

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The United States has added a key anti-Pakistani militant group and its al-Qaida branch to its list of “global terrorists,” triggering sanctions against the groups amid a resurgence of militant violence in this Islamic nation. Both groups operate from Afghanistan, but they have hideouts in Pakistan’s former tribal regions in the northwest […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Pharoah Sanders, influential jazz saxophonist, dies at 81