Live at Lugano

Pharoah Sanders, McCoy Tyner

Lugano Jazz Fest 1985 (Switzerland)

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Pharaoh Sanders

Born Farrell Sanders October 13, 1940 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Sun Ra, who was a early and big supporter of his art, gave him the name Pharoah and it stuck.

Sanders played the blues as a teenager in Arkansas and was a local sideman for Bobby “Blue” Bland and Junior Parker. His family moved to Oakland where he fell under the sway of the music of James Moody, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane.

In 1961, he moved to New York City where he faced very tough financial times. He worked non-musical jobs to support himself, occasionally pawned his instrument and even spent some nights on the subway for the lack of money to rent a room.

In 1963, he formed a group with pianist John Hicks and landed a gig at the Village Gate. John Coltrane was in the audience and started to include him in performances and recordings.

You can hear Sanders on some of Coltrane’s most exploratory albums “Om”, “Live at the Village Vanguard Again”, and “Live in Seattle.”

If you ever have a chance to go to Lake Lugano, go. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth and the train ride there from Milan or Zurich is spectacular.


Pharoah Sanders, tenor saxophone
McCoy Tyner, piano
Avery Sharpe, bassist
Louis Hayes, drum


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