Jazz icon Pharoah Sanders makes a rare Pittsburgh appearance

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Witness a living legend when Pharoah Sanders lets loose on his tenor saxophone at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture Nov.13 at 8 p.m. in a concert featuring his long-time collaborator, pianist William Henderson, as well as Pittsburgh jazz masters Dwayne Dolphin on bass and Roger Humphries on drums.

pharoah
PHAROAH SANDERS

“The August Wilson Center is honored to partner with Kente Arts Alliance to give the Pittsburgh region this rare opportunity to experience the majesty of Pharoah Sanders,” said André Kimo Stone Guess, president and CEO of The Center. “It’s his first appearance here in 28 years and we know that jazz lovers will turnout in full force to welcome him.”

Mensah Wali, Artistic Director of the Kente Arts Alliance, is a personal friend of Sanders who has known him since the mid-1960s.

“The music of Pharoah Sanders speaks to my spirituality. I relate to him as a reverend. People in his congregation relate to him as a reverend. In the context of jazz, he is our high priest. When you hear him, if you hear him the way members of our congregation hear him, he’s speaking to our inner being,” Wali said. “It is important for anyone that knows and recognizes the quality of his music to find their way to get into the house that night.”

Born Ferrell Sanders in Little Rock, Ark, Pharoah began playing clubs there and further honed his sound in the jazz clubs of Oakland, Calif., where he moved right after high school.

Revered by jazz aficionados and musicians alike, Sanders possesses one of the most unique tenor sax sounds in all of jazz. He is one of the architects of free or avant-garde jazz and his groundbreaking recordings (at least nine) in the mid-1960s with saxophone god John Coltrane, marked a pivotal point in this most American of art forms. Sanders has etched his name in the pantheon of jazz alongside such musical icons as Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, James Moody, Don Cherry and Sun Ra (who gave him the nickname Pharoah).

Between 1966 and 1971, he released several albums on the Impulse label, including “Tauhid” in 1966, “Karma” in 1969, and “Black Unity,” 1971. Six years later, came one of his most commercial efforts, “Love Will Find A Way” for Arista Records. In 1978, he recorded “Beyond a Dream (with Norman Connors);” “A Tribute to John Coltrane: Blues for Coltrane” (with McCoy Tyner, D. Murray, C. McBee and R. Haynes) in 1987. Sanders continued recording, releasing subsequent CDs, including “Message” in 1995, “Spirits” in 1998 and “The Creator Has A Master Plan” in 2003. All together, he’s recorded more than 30 albums as a leader and numerous others as a sideman. He continues to tour, as well, thrilling jazz fans the world over.

Tickets for Pharoah Sanders are $20, balcony; $25, Orchestra rear; $30 Orchestra front and can be purchased by visiting the Box Office at Theater Square, on-line at pgharts.org and culturaldistrict.org and by calling 412-456-6666.

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