Glimpse Into The Glimmer

Glimpse into the glimmer—an interview with Ed Michel, producer of Pharoah Sander’s Jewels of Thought

Frosty: What’s your most distinct recollection about the Jewels of Thought sessions?

Ed: It was my first meeting with Pharoah, and my first real encounter with the army-on-the-march methodology that recording him usually involved. An entire community arrived, with food preparation units. It was my first encounter with Roy Haynes, Richard Davis, and Cecil McBee, for whom I had/have a great affection.

Frosty: What was the tone and spirit in the air when the music was recorded?

Ed: Anything goes, so that’s what you’d better be ready for…

Frosty: What was Pharoah’s demeanor when recording?

Ed: Intense and serious. And ready.

Frosty: Can you provide a descriptive glimpse into the physical space or circumstances under which it was recorded?

Ed: Plaza Sound was an immense room on the 7th floor of Radio City Music Hall. I knew it pretty well, since most of Riverside’s stuff was recorded there while I was involved. It was like a couple of high-school gyms, with space enough for a huge symphony orchestra and choruses/ Made it easy to m\voe the non-musicians into space where they wouldn’t interfere. Circumstance: trust your artist and your sense of the music, just like always.

Frosty: Did Pharoah discuss his intention or desired impact of the album?

Ed:He wasn’t much for conversation. This is an overstatement.

Frosty: How do view this album alongside the other Impulse output at the time? What was distinct about it?

Ed:I felt it fit into the continuum of music he was recording, although it lacked the somewhat poppish feel of what Bob Thiele was doing. But: trust your artist.

Frosty: Anything else you’d like to share about Jewels of Thought?

Ed: It felt right at the time, and I think fairly represented the artist and what was happening in the music at the moment.