“Rest in power”: tributes paid to Pharoah Sanders

He's astral travelling now

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Pharoah Sanders has died at the age of 81.

The news was revealed in a statement on September 24 from the musician’s label, Luaka Bop, who wrote: “We are devastated to share that Pharoah Sanders has passed away.

“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.”


Across a career spanning six decades, Sanders – who was born Farrell Sanders but nicknamed Pharoah by Sun Ra – collaborated with a host of artists, including joining John Coltrane‘s band, where he remained as a part of the ensemble until Coltrane’s death in 1967.

Sanders also collaborated with Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman and Alice Coltrane – including on her landmark 1971 album Journey in Satchidananda.


Sanders also released many records as a bandleader, for a number of labels including Impulse!

More recently, Sanders was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2021 for Promises, his collaborative album with Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Leading tributes to Sanders, Floating Points – aka Sam Shepherd – said: “My beautiful friend passed away this morning. I am so lucky to have known this man, and we are all blessed to have his art stay with us forever. Thank you Pharoah.”

Others to pay tribute to Sanders include the Sun Ra Arkestra, who tweeted: “Pharoah Sanders Sun Ra Arkestra alumnus has departed this planet. Oct 13 1940 – Sept 24 2022 Deepest Condolescences to all family and friends… He will be greatly missed.”

Warren Ellis, Low, Thurston Moore and Arkestra’s Dave Davis were among the many paying tribute to the jazz colossus.


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