Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 08/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Pharoah Sanders is no doubt a musician who has had a rough time escaping his own legacy. Known for pushing John Coltrane to his most "out" heights and for free/spiritual jazz blowouts of stunning power and ferociousness ("Karma"), Sanders settled down a bit as he got older. Not in terms of his playing, he maintained a fire and energy to that, but in his music. His forms settled down and he began exploring ballads, standards, and the like. The result of this has been a mixture of brilliance and frustration. It seems at times as though Sanders isn't really feeling what he's playing.
Thankfully, his late '80s reunion with vocalist Leon Thomas, who sung on so many of Sanders' early great records, "Oh Lord, Let Me Do No Wrong", is not one of these albums. Sanders is in a sympathetic light, with his backing band supportive and expressive (particularly pianist William S. Henderson III). And Sanders is totally on fire, particularly on the cuts Thomas joins the band-- the reggae-ish title track (where the vocalist and the saxophonist push each other), goofy blues "If It Wasn't For a Woman", and blues standard "Next Time You See". Sanders comes roaring in ways he hadn't in decades upon Thomas' declaration-- "tell 'em about it, Pharoah!". Fierce and explosive, full of fire and nearly unhinged, its something to behold.
Likewise, Sanders seems to find both COltranes "Equinox" and the two standards he picked up ("Polka Dots and Moonbeans" and "Clear Out of This World") particularly inspiring, whether he's full of fire or balladry. He certainly is on a tear on Trane's theme.
Admittedly it's not quite "Karma" or any of those records, but it's certainly a good record. Highly recommended."
mp | Orlando, Fl. | 08/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mr. Sanders is in very high form during these sets. But what is even more to my liking is the interplay between Sanders and his ensemble. Each knows how to highlight the other's playing while at the same time providing exceptional virtuosity on their respective instruments.
William Henderson's piano lines would sound contrived and mannered played by a lesser musician, however both Mr. Henderson's approach and execution are at once stellar and delicate. The recorded sound of his piano is like fine crystal--a shimmering diffuse light that contrasts markedly to Pharoah's sometimes machinegun like blasts.
Donald Smith adds an other-worldly aspect, and he is in complete harmony with Henderson's lines--each never getting in the way of the other as they play similar instruments.
Sadly, Mr. Thomas is no longer with us. However, for those who've not heard his wonderful voice, this is a good introduction.
What can be said of Pharoah Sanders? His playing is both melodic and dissonant, but within his art he offers something higher--a supreme spirituality, often raw in form, but always breathtaking."