It’s a spring afternoon in a comfortable section of South Central Los Angeles. The richly textured tone of a tenor saxophone wafts across the lawn of a two-story house, blending with the dull hum of I-10 not far off. The moment suggests a number of things: a career that balances music-making and homemaking, and one that’s active, generating a healthy income.
Both home and tone belong to Pharoah Sanders, the latter being perhaps one of the most valuable and recognizable sounds to survive the ’60s avant-garde. I hear it, a bit disarming in its domestic setting, as I cross the lawn to speak with the man whose fearsome reputation endures as one who breathes fire and rasp.