Pharaoh Sanders doesn't smile. If he does, I haven't seen it.
When I imagine Pharaoh Sanders, I think of an individual who doesn't have time to be entertained with life's practical jokes. Instead, he spends his time perfecting his state of consciousness, playing music that is so far left, only the most in tuned jazz enthusiasts can speak the language. When you see photos of Sanders, his aura is godlike. His garb, his more than serious facial expressions, his stare, even his name. His music, as chaotic as it sounds, is extremely sophisticated. His sound is one that he has owned and only a select few in the vast spectrum of jazz have been blessed by being called his bandmate, or even understudy. His songs are not songs, they are spiritual messages, spoken in a language that needs to be studied and learned before it is understood and comprehended.
It all makes up what we see and know of Pharaoh Sanders.
This photo (photographer unknown) of Pharaoh Sanders and Lonnie Liston Smith in 1971 portrays the exact opposite of everything we see and know Pharaoh Sanders to be. Only one can imagine what prompted this photo, but it shows a glimpse of Pharaoh that we never see, and that is why I love it.
Written by: @Haylow