dublab :: Jewels of Thought

With a triple ripple of Pharoah Sanders’ Tauhid, Jewels Of Thought and Summun Bukmun Umyun – Deaf Dumb Blind newly editioned on Anthology Recordings, the label asked three of dublab’s deepest heads — Mark “Frosty” McNeil, Carlos Niño, and Mark Maxwell — to examine these albums under an intimate lens.

Today, Mark “Frost” McNeill considers Jewels of Thought

Pharoah Sanders - Jewels of Thought LP front

JEWELS OF THOUGHT

– facets explored Mark “Frosty” McNeill

Peace is a united effort for co-ordinated control
Peace is the will of the people and the will of the land
With peace we can move ahead together
We want you to join us this evening in this universal prayer
This universal prayer for peace for every man
All you got to do is clap your hands

One two three
One two three
One two three
One two three

The invocation opening Pharoah Sanders’ Jewels of Thought is a call to action, an appeal for peaceful reaction. ‘Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah,’ is rooted in Sufism and imbued with prescient potency. Delivered in Leon Thomas’ elated ululation, it is pure, optimistic sound power. This kinetic fluidity spans the expressive album.

Hum-Allah, hey
Hum-Allah, hey
Hum-Allah, hey
Hum-Allah

When Pharoah Sanders let loose Jewels of Thought in 1969, he was rising to meet the need of the time. A summoning birthed in a climate of war and inequality. These manmade afflictions are still with us, but so thankfully is Sanders’ flare, arcing into infinity with undimmed vigor.

Prince of peace won’t you hear our pleas
And ring your bells of peace
Let loving never cease
Prince of peace won’t you hear our pleas
And ring your bells of peace
Let loving never cease

Jewels of Thought overflows with high vibrations activated by Sanders’ assembly of master musicians: Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Haynes, Cecil McBee, Idris Muhammad, Richard Davis, and Leon Thomas. Pharoah’s court comes well equipped for their rhapsodic task. They spill chimes, kalimba, percussion, piano, African flute, voice, bass and drums into the cosmos. These sonic constellations are spun into a fervor by Pharoah’s tenor saxophone, contrabass clarinet and reed flute.

With its primordial shimmer, the album’s second side, ‘Sun in Aquarius’ is an active meditation charged with life force. It is a tome balancing serenity with shrieks in a course carved towards transcendence. While peace is the destination, Sanders seeks this space by alternately spitting flames at fire and caressing the atmosphere. His ferocious blasts shred illusions to reveal the blissful core of being.

This is music that breaks the bonds of expectation, seeking freedom in form and intention. The aural prayers on Jewels of Thought, are expansive vistas viewed through the scope of a universal mindstate. This is not analytical music—it is feeling, breathing and loving music. Jewels of Thought is a vessel into which Sanders poured his soul so that we may revel in ecstatic unity.

Hum-Allah, hey
Hum-Allah, yeah
Hum-Allah, hey
Hum-Allah