Floating Points, Coby Sey and Sun Ra Arkestra pay tribute to Pharoah Sanders

The pioneering jazz saxophonist has died aged 81.

News of Pharoah Sanders’ passing was confirmed on Saturday (24 September) by Luaka Bop – the label run by David Byrne which released Sanders collaborative release, Promises, with Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra in 2020. “We are devastated to share that Pharoah Sanders has passed away,” they wrote. “He died peacefully surrounded by loving family and friends in Los Angeles earlier this morning. Always and forever the most beautiful human being, may he rest in peace.”

Floating Points also paid tribute to the late musician. “My beautiful friend passed away this morning,” he wrote, “I am so lucky to have known this man, and we are all blessed to have his art stay with us forever.” Since the news of Sanders’ death, tributes have been pouring in to the late jazz great.

A pivotal figure in the spiritual jazz movement, he was born Farrell Sanders in Arkansas in 1940. He started his career in Oakland, California and first met John Coltrane whilst performing in the Bay Area. In 1961 he moved to New York, where he met and played with Sun Ra. In 1964 he released his debut album Pharoah’s First and started playing in John Coltrane’s band the following year. Sanders also collaborated with Alice Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Kenny Garrett and many more.

Sanders recently made an appearance at Gilles Peterson’s We Out Here festival in Cambridgeshire, which was his last performance. Read a selection of tributes to Pharoah Sanders below.

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