Allah supreme: how Pharoah Sanders found freedom and rebellion in Islam

The saxophonist was among an assembly of American jazz musicians who reached across continents to find meaning in sound

The day the music died was 24 September 2022. On that Saturday, the legendary tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, a man who blew his horn “as if he was a dragon breathing fire”, passed on, at age 81. With his death came the end of a majestic era, a time of saxophone spirituality and musical mysticism that will probably never be surpassed or even replicated. Sanders, like so many of his generation, channeled spirit into song, drawing inspiration from a panoply of sacred sources.

For a while, younger hip-hop generations also found words and meaning in a similar kind of search, and the music –along with the quest – continued.

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