Pharoah Sanders Hits Your Local Record Store
To celebrate the reissue of three of Pharoah Sanders’ most significant records, Tauhid, Jewels of Thought, and Deaf Dumb Blind, we asked some of our favorite stores to share their thoughts on this music.
Tauhid: One of the first moments of genius from a young Pharoah Sanders — a set that builds on the energy of John Coltrane’s Love Supreme generation — but takes it in a much more expansive direction! The album’s got a sense of majesty that’s years ahead of its time — righteous, positive, spiritual jazz that flows out with a timeless power, and a quality that almost out-Coltrane’s Coltrane! All tracks are long, expressive, and freely flowing — building with a very organic sense of energy — totally free from any gimmicks or cliche. Players include Dave Burrell on piano, Henry Grimes on bass, and Sonny Sharrock on guitar — and Pharoah plays alto, tenor, and piccolo — and even vocalizes a bit. The album begins with the amazing “Upper & Lower Egypt” — which is a perfect illustration of the two sides of Pharoah’s genius — free/out & spiritual/modal — and other titles include “Japan”, and “Capricorn Rising”.
Jewels Of Thought: A wonderful reunion of Pharoah Sanders and vocalist Leon Thomas — and a set that captures a lot of the same energy as the pair’s previous record — Karma! Thomas’ vocals are in wonderful form for the set — stretching out soulfully on the extended classic “Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah-Hum-Allah” — a title that has much of the same grace and power as “The Creator Has A Master Plan. The rest of the players on the date include Lonnie Liston Smith on piano, Richard Davis and Cecil McBee on basses, and Idris Muhammad and Roy Haynes on drums — and unusually enough, each of the double bassists and drummers gets their own channel of sound to work with! The other long track on the album is the extended “Sun In Aquarius” — which is a bit more outside, but still pretty great!
Deaf Dumb Blind: Pharoah Sanders is working here with some excellent horn players in the frontline — Woody Shaw on trumpet and Gary Bartz on alto sax — both of whom really bring a lot of power to the record! As with some of Sanders’ other Impulse albums of the period, the record only features two long songs — both of them great, and both of them balanced between more modal moments, and freer flights of jazz expression. Bartz and Shaw are obviously well suited for both of these sides of the spectrum — as are the other players, who include Lonnie Liston Smith on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Clifford Jarvis on drums. Nathaniel Bettis and Anthony Wiles play additional percussion — as do some of the other members of the group from time to time. Both tracks build with a stretched-out, organic quality — and titles include “Summun Bukmun Umyun” and “Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord.”
“With it’s liturgical overtones, Pharoah Sanders’ ‘Karma’ lays a solid claim as the saxophonist’s best-known spiritual album, but to these ears, it’s predecessor ‘Tauhid’ is the one. Within the scope of a quartet, ‘Tauhid’ contains a rapidly expanding universe; it is at once restless and resolved, slackened and stiff, harmonious and cacophonous. Indeed, each of it’s players embody a contradiction: Sanders’ tenor brays and sprays one moment, then turns to a relaxed languor; Sonny Sharrock’s guitar can express a frantic mania on one side of the LP, then root the proceedings in a sultry pop mode on the flip; bassist Henry Grimes, in one of his last studio appearances before disappearing in California, does the work of two men, his long, lowing drones mingling with nimble, pointillist runs that defy logic. ‘Tauhid’ is an organism, an amalgamation of competing forces as diverse as the universe itself, and the act of listening to it brings one closer to the center of the whole humming system.”
“Tauhid is one of a handful of albums from the time that I find deeply spiritual. It resonates with the joy, love and universal consciousness that Sanders and the Coltranes had been realizing through their musical collaborations.”
“Pharoah’s run on Impulse! is great and these 3 reissues were much needed!”
“Excited that three of Sander’s classic albums from the height of his popularity and creativity back in print! The most soulful free jazz the world has ever heard.”
A1. Upper Egypt & Lower Egypt
B2. Aum / Venus / Capricorn Rising
Jewels of Thought
A2. Sun In Aquarius (Part 1)
B1. Sun In Aquarius (Part 2)
Summun, Bukmun, Umyun – Deaf, Dumb, Blind
A1. Summun, Bukmun, Umyun
B1. Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord
The Deluxe Edition features all three LPs and 16-page zine housed in O-Card hand-assembled and screen-printed by Keegan Cooke.