Pharoah Sanders

Pharoah Sanders possesses one of the most distinctive tenor saxophone sounds in jazz. Harmonically rich and heavy with overtones, Sanders' sound can be as raw and abrasive as it is possible for a saxophonist to produce. Yet, Sanders is highly regarded to the point of reverence by a great many jazz fans. Although he made his name with expressionistic, nearly anarchic free jazz in John Coltrane's late ensembles of the mid-'60s, Sanders' later music is guided by more graceful concerns. In the free-time, ultra-dense cauldron that was Coltrane's last artistic stand, Sanders relied heavily on the non-specific pitches and timbral distortions pioneered by Albert Ayler and further developed by Coltrane himself. The hallmarks of Sanders' playing at that time were naked aggression and unrestrained passion. In the years after Coltrane's death, however, Sanders explored other, somewhat gentler and perhaps more cerebral avenues -- without, it should be added, sacrificing any of the intensity that defined his work as an apprentice to Coltrane.