Menu

‘Pharoah was the Son’: Pharoah Sanders

Sand

Introduction

Like all other American music genres, Jazz was born to African Americans, originating in New Orleans. Just like the vast amount of cultures of its birthplace, Jazz music developed into numerous forms and styles, one of which being Free Jazz.

A Little about Pharoah

Farrell (Pharoah) Sanders is known as a prominent figure in free jazz’s development. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on October 13, 1940 into a family of musicians

Sanders began playing tenor saxophone in high school. His band director, Jimmy Cannon, introduced him to jazz, and he soon became interim band director when Cannon left.

After high school, Sanders moved to Oakland, California to begin his professional career. He befriended John Coltrane while playing gigs on the West Coast.

In 1961, Sanders moved to New York City, where he began working at a coffee shop called the “Playhouse”. He soon met Sun Ra, who took him under his wing at gave him the new moniker “Pharoah”.

What is Free Jazz?

In the 1960s, jazz artists attempted to break the regular jazz conventions of set chord patterns or time patterns. This new style of jazz became known as “free jazz”, due to its more improvisational style.

Style

  • Overblowing
  • Shrieks
  • Harmonics
  • Biting the reed
  • Yelling through the bell of the horn

While traditional jazz players would build up to intensity, Pharoah began his playing with intensity.

Peak Music Years

Like all other American music genres, Jazz was born to African Americans, originating in New Orleans. Just like the vast amount of cultures of its birthplace, Jazz music developed into numerous forms and styles, one of which being Free Jazz.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email