Reviews that mention Pharoah Sanders

October 14, 2013

Festival Report

Guelph Jazz Festival
By Ken Waxman

New combination and new conceptions, sporadically sprinkled with touches of exotica, characterized the 20th anniversary edition of the Guelph Jazz Festival (GJF) September 4-8. Affiliated with a contiguous academic Colloquium on improvisation, the GJF, located in a small university city, fewer than 100 kilometres west of Toronto, has from its beginning stretched the definition of “jazz”, while avoiding populist pandering. The approach obviously works well, with the GJF slowly expanding. On Saturday, afternoon and evening free outdoor concerts now take place in front of city hall; the free, dusk-to-dawn Nuit Blanche offers intimates performances in non-traditional downtown spaces. Plus a full schedule of workshops and formal concerts unrolls each day. MORE

December 15, 2012

Pharoah Sanders

In the Beginning 1963-64
ESP-Disk ESP-4069

Pierre Favre

Drums and Dreams

Intakt CD 197

Connie Crothers - David Arner

Spontaneous Suite for Two Pianos

Rogueart R0G-037

Various Artists

Echtzeitmusik Berlin

Mikroton CD 14/15/16

Something In The Air: Multiple Disc Sets for the Adventurous

By Ken Waxman

Defying doomsayers who predicted the death of the LP, the CD’s disappearance appears oversold. True music collectors prefer the physical presence and superior fidelity of a well-designd CD package and important material continues to released. Partisans of advanced music, for instance, can choose any one of these sets. The only saxophonist to be part of saxophonist John Coltrane’s working group, tenorist Pharoah Sanders is celebrated for his own highly rhythmic Energy Music. In the Beginning 1963-64 ESP-Disk ESP-4069, a four CD-package highlight his steady growth. Besides Sanders’ first album as leader, very much in the freebop tradition, as part of quintet of now obscure players, the other previously released sounds capture Sanders’ recordings in the Sun Ra Arkestra. More valuable is a CD of unissued tracks where Sanders asserts himself in quartets led by cornetist Don Cherry or Canadian pianist Paul Bley. The set is completed by short interviews with all of the leaders. Oddly enough, although they precede his solo debut, Sanders’ playing is most impressive with Bley and Cherry. With more of a regularized beat via bassist David Izenson and drummer J.C. Moses, Cherry’s tracks advance melody juxtaposition and parallel improvisations with Sanders’ harsh obbligato contrasted with the cornetist’s feisty flourishes; plus the darting lines and quick jabs of pianist Joe Scianni provides an unheralded pleasure. Bley’s economical comping and discursive patterning lead the saxophonist into solos filled with harsh tongue-twisting lines and jagged interval leaps. With Izenson’s screeching assent and drummer Paul Motion’s press rolls the quartet plays super fast without losing the melodic thread. Sun Ra is a different matter. Recorded in concert, the sets include helpings of space chants such as “Rocket #9” and “Next Stop Mars”; a feature for Black Harold’s talking log drums; showcases for blaring trombones, growling trumpets; plus the leader’s propulsive half-down-home and half-outer-space keyboard. Sharing honking and double-tonguing interludes with Arkestra saxists Pat Patrick and Marshall Allen, Sanders exhibits his characteristic stridency. Enjoyable for Sun Ra’s vision which is spectacular and jocular, these tracks suggest why the taciturn Sanders soon went on his own. MORE

September 11, 2012

Interview:

Jerry Granelli
By Ken Waxman

Now 72, and a resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, percussionist Jerry Granelli has been involved in so many different projects over the years that he would seem to be several drummers. A San Franciscan, Granelli was the drummer on Vince Guaraldi’s popular series of Peanuts LPs and TV specials. He played on hit records and with psychedelic rock bands, while his jazz gigs encompass work with Denny Zeitlin, Jane Ira Bloom and Mose Allison. Granelli, who moved to Canada in the late ‘80s, has taught music in three countries and recorded a spate of CDs under his own name. MORE

July 24, 2009

Ronnie Boykins

The Will Come, Is Now
ESP 1099

Sun Ra

Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold

ESP 4054

Reissued and newly discovered sounds by composer/bandleader Sun Ra [1914-1993] are helping to fill gaps in his massive oeuvre and present a more complete picture of his activities. These two exceptional discs for instance, recorded a decade apart by a distinct Ra Arkestra and a valued member of his organization reveal additional – and unexpected – facets of Ra’s musical life.

Paradoxically, each suggests that despite his extraterrestrial trappings, the loquacious Ra may have actually been only as avant-garde as Duke Ellington, who similarly was never at a loss for words. Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold for example, combines previously un-issued and spottily distributed 1964 tracks that showcase musicians who otherwise didn’t play with the Arkestra. In this way the sessions are not unlike radio air checks that capture the work of unrecorded Ellington bands of the 1940s. Similar to what those slabs of the Ducal canon also reveal, the tracks prove that no matter how powerful the presence of tenor saxophonist Sanders – subbing for John Gilmore who had joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers – and log drummer/flutist Black Harold (Murray) – who would reappear for a time in the 1990s in Chicago’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble – is, their contributions don’t really modify Ra’s singular and mercurial vision. MORE

July 24, 2009

Sun Ra

Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold
ESP 4054

Ronnie Boykins

The Will Come, Is Now

ESP 1099

Reissued and newly discovered sounds by composer/bandleader Sun Ra [1914-1993] are helping to fill gaps in his massive oeuvre and present a more complete picture of his activities. These two exceptional discs for instance, recorded a decade apart by a distinct Ra Arkestra and a valued member of his organization reveal additional – and unexpected – facets of Ra’s musical life.

Paradoxically, each suggests that despite his extraterrestrial trappings, the loquacious Ra may have actually been only as avant-garde as Duke Ellington, who similarly was never at a loss for words. Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold for example, combines previously un-issued and spottily distributed 1964 tracks that showcase musicians who otherwise didn’t play with the Arkestra. In this way the sessions are not unlike radio air checks that capture the work of unrecorded Ellington bands of the 1940s. Similar to what those slabs of the Ducal canon also reveal, the tracks prove that no matter how powerful the presence of tenor saxophonist Sanders – subbing for John Gilmore who had joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers – and log drummer/flutist Black Harold (Murray) – who would reappear for a time in the 1990s in Chicago’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble – is, their contributions don’t really modify Ra’s singular and mercurial vision. MORE

June 9, 2003

PHAROAH SANDERS

Live
Evidence ECD 22223-2

Often viewed as a sort of John Coltrane-Lite, tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders’ career has always seemed to be focused on the approximately two years -- 1964 to 1966 -- he spent in the groups of the older tenor saxophonist.

More controversial than other Trane formations, the Black Nationalist and Spiritual concerns manifested by those combos mixed with the screaming split tones Sanders contributed to their output, seemed to mark him as a permanent outsider in an increasingly conservative jazz scene after that. MORE

October 8, 2001

JOHN COLTRANE

The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording
Impulse! 314 589 120-2

What's probably the most unexpected surprise about this more than 34-year-old music recorded by saxophonist John Coltrane final band at the Olatunji Center of African Culture in Harlem, and finally legitimately released, is just how powerful it is.

Although taped just three months before he died of liver cancer at 40, when the saxophonist was so out of sorts that he had to play sitting down, you'd never realize the extent of his infirmity from this performance.

Coltrane was improvising at the same exalted level on this April afternoon in 1967 as well as he ever he did during most of his short life. With such seem-bursting compatriots as tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and drummer Rashied Ali could he have done anything else? MORE

September 20, 2000

KAHIL EL'ZABAR

Africa N'da Blues
Delmark DE-519

Chicago percussionist Kahil El'Zabar is one younger musician who makes it a point to interact with the jazz pioneers of the 1960s and 1970s. A longtime member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, he has built the Ritual Trio around the talents of veteran AACMers Brown and Favors, who is also a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. More to the point the percussionist has played and recorded with other sound pioneers from that time including saxophonists Fred Anderson, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, Joseph Jarman, Archie Shepp and now Pharoah Sanders.

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