"Pharoah is a man of large spiritual reservoir, always trying to reach out to truth. He’s trying to allow his spiritual self to be his guide. He’s dealing, among other things, in energy, in integrity, in essences."
– John Coltrane
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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.
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- Emerging from John Coltrane’s groups of the mid-1960s Sanders is known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multiphonic techniques on the saxophone.
- Sanders is an important figure in the development of free jazz; Albert Ayler famously said: “Trane was the Father, Pharoah was the Son, I am the Holy Ghost.”
- Sanders came to greater prominence playing with John Coltrane’s band, starting in 1965, as Coltrane began adopting the avant-garde jazz of Albert Ayler, Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor. Coltrane’s later style was strongly influenced by Sanders.
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