Few artists have so masterfully combined oxygen, lung-power and brass to create beauty as Pharoah Sanders. Across his 80 years on the planet, the great tenor saxophonist has expanded the depth and breadth of a genre that, though generally considered to be post-bop jazz, transcends such basic classifications.
Sanders has quietly lived in Los Angeles for years, and in late September he and saxophone inheritor and collaborator Azar Lawrence teamed with a wildly impressive band to film a concert at the great Frogtown venue Zebulon. The occasion: Sanders’ 80th birthday, which occurs on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
As a way to honor a titan of American music, Zebulon will broadcast that concert on Sanders’ birthday. Shot in a virtually empty venue and captured in a three-camera set-up, the gig will find Sanders and his tenor working through both new songs and old classics, backed by a percussion-heavy ensemble worthy of the occasion. Though debilitated by age – he walks very slowly with the use of a cane – Sanders lungs still have capacity to shock, according to one source who attended the filming.
Joining Sanders and Lawrence will be John Beasley on Fender Rhodes keyboard, Tony Austin on drums, Munyungo Jackson on percussion, Sekou Bunch on bass and Tiffany Austin on vocals. Tickets for and access to the livestream, which will occur at 7 p.m. in various time zones, can be purchased through Zebulon’s site. Prices vary by country, but those in the U.S. can buy passes for $25. For further information, check out Zebulon’s events page.
Watch a preview of the livestream below:
All proceeds to support Pharoah Sanders, Azar Lawrence, the musicians and Zebulon.