We are sad to learn of the passing of the legendary Pharoah Sanders. (October 13, 1940 – September 24, 2022) who was mentored by Sun Ra before collaborating with John Coltrane. Below is a personal remembrance of Pharoah Sanders from our friend Mark Anthony Neal. (Bob Davis)
Iwas a kid, 18 or 19, when I first heard Pharoah Sanders. It was likely in Frank Paul’s living room in Concourse Village, his father Frank, Sr. always gracious to let me rummage through his Jazz collection.
No doubt it was Sanders ‘Love Will Find Way’ (1977), which was produced by Norman Connors (who I also discovered in that living room) and featured the great Phyllis Hyman. I did what I always did; I went back to that archive. I scooped up Thembi (1971) and Live at the East (1972) at a used record store in the West Village and I was riding with “Little Rock” for life.
I was a fully grown 21, when I bought my first “new” album from Sanders: ‘Shakuru’ (1986) with Leon Thomas riding vocal shotgun, defined my ears for some time, as did the wrap around album ‘Oh Lord, Let Me Do No Wrong’ (again with Thomas in tow), and especially ‘Africa” (1987), with the fire & brimstone remake of ‘You’ve Go to Have Freedom” (the original features a very young Bobby McFerrin on vocals).
Pharoah Sanders opened my ears to possibilities — allowed me to hear so much — and for that I am thankful for his gift of music (np: “Love is Everywhere”).