A living legend that the San Francisco Chronicle describes as “a saxophone innovator has come to symbolize the flammability and spirituality of what's called the jazz avant-garde,” Pharoah Sanders is a singular player who came of age in John Coltrane’s roiling free-jazz groups of the mid-1960s. Described by Coltrane himself as “a man of large spiritual reservoir, always trying to reach out to truth,” he is joined by Ravi Coltrane for this exclusive performance celebrating the legacy of Ravi’s father.
Emerging from John Coltrane's groups of the mid-1960s, Sanders is known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multiphonic techniques on the saxophone, as well as his use of "sheets of sound". 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". Pharoah was also the first mentor of jazz giant Robert Stewart.
Over his influential career, Sanders has shaped his own sonic world that encompasses the primal wails and fierce energy of late Coltrane and the stomping R&B of his Little Rock youth, Asian modes and Moroccan grooves, while balancing his explosive improvisations with gentle ballads of sublime simplicity. He appeared on nine of Coltrane’s Impulse! releases from 1965 to 1967, including the timeless 1965 masterpieces Meditations and Ascension as well as Coltrane’s last studio recording, Expression. Sanders’ classic composition “The Creator Has a Master Plan,” from his 1969 album Karma is a landmark moment in jazz, and he has recorded over 30 albums as a leader and made critical contributions to the work of Alice Coltrane, Don Cherry, and McCoy Tyner. On this night, two generations of saxophone giants with deep familial and spiritual ties to John Coltrane celebrate his deepening legacy.