Avant-garde legend Pharoah Sanders has passed in Los Angeles, according to his record label Luaka Bop. He was 81.
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1940, Sanders given name was Farrell. It was Sun Ra that gave him the nickname Pharoah, when the two began working together in the 1960s. Sanders joined John Coltrane’s band in 1965 and remained until his fellow saxophonist died two years later.
Sanders’ final recording came last year – a 2020 set with electronic music producer Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra. Promises was hailed as a “late-career masterpiece” by Pitchfork.
Tributes are beginning to come in, including this simple note from Sanders’ son Tomoki: “Thank you, dad … .”
From Floating Pines, “My beautiful friend passed away this morning. I am so lucky to have known this man, and we are all blessed to have his art stay with us forever. Thank you Pharoah.”