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Pharoah, 'a Holy Man'

Pharoah, 'a Holy Man' image
Parent Issue
Month
September
Year
1967
OCR Text

With the death of John Coltrano, Pharoah Saunders- Coltrane's seeond saxophonist- has found himself regarded by many as the greatest living tenor sax man (although Saimdors himself dlsagrees), Yet for the past few weeks he has bepn living in Oakland wttti hts alster, unable to get a Job and desperately in need of money to gct back to New York for a recording date. Saunders was reluctant at flrst to grant an interview; hu said h( had no storles to teil, no speeches to n I can't talk abotit miisic or nothing.Ijust play H, see? If yw want to know about muslc, you can read on the reconi Jackets or ..omethlng." He looked around house for a while in search of r magszlne hich he said contained a recent story abotit hlmt but couldn't find H. Finally, however, Wes Robinson of "The Warehoase" (sec accompanylng story) was able to allay hts fpars, and Saundors consented to the interview. Several of Robinson's questions have been placed under my name for the sake of convenlence. OGAR: What do you thtnk of the , Jazz cllmate in California" KAUNDERS: (Shaklng hls head Blowly.) The people aren't ready , Ket. OGAR: Ts lt that there aren't any j musielans. . .? SAUNDERS: No, there are some nusicians out here, but, I don't fcnow, the peoplo just aren't ready i'ci. Thls place Is so relaxed, you know? California' s a beautíhl place, but the people Jwst don't seem to come out. The people on THE slde are more constructlve. r mean, If the cats from New Vork come west, Oakland Is the place. OGAR: What about Borkeley? SAUNDERS: Oakland and Berkeley, It's all üip same thlng to me. THK stdp, I mean. AU of lt. '.JGAFï: How would you describe the fnuslc you play? SAUNDERS: My philssophy Is that 1 don't mlnd playlng even rock and roll if I can get a gig. See, muslc ain't any kind of NAMES- Jazz, rock and roll, hlllbllly, "avant -garde." r just play what È. I mean, you can read thlngs In a book and all that, but ttio time carnes to put the book down and jist play. DGAR: Do you Hke rock muslc AUNDERS: Rock is a good thing. Somo of it I like, somf I don't tikt. 1 can't use some of it, but P m not against lt. r m Just against fhe ñames. I don't even deal wlth MY name, 1 just df-al with "man." It's not about name, it just IS. 1 AM. DG AR: Are you familiar wlth any of thp rock groups In the area? SAtTNDERS: No. What do they do? OGAR: Well, for ore thing.therp's a tendency to movethegultar more to thp electronic slde, and to experiment wlth new sounds and ne Instruments. SAUNDERS: (Noddlng.) Yeah. Like, a person who expresses hlmself needs more than a sax. I mean, lt just goes up and down, you know? You have to make your own Instrument lf you' re golng todoanythlng. Thls (indieating the sax) is Just metal. I don't even see U anyrnore. Id like to get rld of lt and Just use my volee. OGAR: What was lt Uke workiog wlth Coltrane? SAUNDERS: lt was the best experlence I ever had In my wholo Ufe. He was a man of God, a holy man, that was hls appeal to me. He was very, very sensitive, 1 know that. He was dealing wlth perfectlon. OGAR: That must havo made hlm difflcult to work for, didn't lt? SAUNDERS: No, he didn't want to restrlct anybody. Kwaslikeatrt. That's what wf-'re suppostd to hc doing on this planet. You can gpt onto mental planes and all, butyou havo to brlng back soinethlne; that's worthwhilo. OGAR: lt seeras that ín Jazz, U's thf black men who make the music and the white men who mako the money. How do you feel about that? SAUNDERS: To bc good, you have IC r h"Iy person. That's all. I : What itsomoane stpals your ' stuff? BUNDERS: Llke, !f somebody ar - Tanges one of my tunes, that makes uppy b'jcausp they üked the tune. Thls Inspires me to write more. I don't care about the money. (SmiUng.) I Just want enough to get back to New York, that's all. OGAR: People have been talklng ibout the New Black Revolutlooary musle. Does It exlst? SAUNDERS: Music doesn't go by any namos, ltke I said. It's here, so the Creator must have created it, rjght? And if He creatod tt, ï.-st be all colors. Vou can't deal w!th any ractal thlng. If I go lnto a Mitte club, I can't ■ won't pay because I don't Uke white people, because thafs a mtsunderstandlng. I mean, If you know God, you have to love everything because He K everythlng. You have to love even a ptg. If you do anythtng else,yo' re messIng with the laws of Creatlon. (At this polnt Saunders began discusstnE arrangements fcr Sunday concrt withWes Roblnson, In the courso of whleh he oftered the followlng remarfcs.) Playing music Is llke overyday. ■ Sonif people ooly do so much, you know. But you can't play no solo In ten minutes. (Pause.) You know, thfs thlng where one guy stands up and tafces a solo, and then the next guy--tliafs do good. Everybody shouW play together as one.Other'1sp it's too much go. Show business. The spotlltrht's on you, so play. You should play to, eether. None of thls "who'sbest," I mean, you play you and don't r what Tm playing. Go about your own business, bocause If yon follow mo, 1 just MJGHT lead yoa In the wrong directlon. OGAR: But don't other muslclans look to you for leadership? SAUNDFRS: That's bfcause thiy don't know whore thcy arf, or wher' they como from or why thry're herp. You've got to know yourself. i can't say "I am" for you. XLPKfVr&V FAóM THB 8BXKLuLy BAXB (ufs).