US saxophonist who started his career with Sun Ra and John Coltrane and went on to find a more spiritual voice
The distinctive sound of Pharoah Sanders’ tenor saxophone, which could veer from a hoarse croon to harsh multiphonic screams, startled audiences in the 1960s before acting in recent years as a kind of call to prayer for young jazz musicians seeking to steer their music in a direction defined by a search for ecstasy and transcendence.
Sanders, who has died age 81, made an impact at both ends of a long career. In 1965 he was recruited by John Coltrane, an established star of the jazz world, to help push the music forward into uncharted areas of sonic and spiritual exploration.
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