Great music, great musicians, lousy record company
Erik Srgaard | Norway | 09/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 5 stars is for the music - recorded live in 1973. Elevation is one of Pharoas finest recordings containing some of the best music from the period. With influences from Africa, India and - something that is always at the heart of Sanders` music -the blues. And not to forget - there is a lot of joy and happiness here. Unfortunately -what we get is not the complete picture. It is understandable that the original lp only contained parts of the performances. But a cd can contain close to 90 minutes of music so it would have been possible for Impulse to put out a cd with the complete tracks.But then of course - it is cheaper to put out replicas. Mosaic would do a better job with this great music.
A much better recording mangled by poor production choices.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 09/28/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A decent record marred by bizarre production choices, "Elevation" is primarily a live album, recorded in September of 1973, with one brief piece from a studio date shortly thereafter. Pharoah Sanders, heard here on tenor and soprano saxes as well as an array of percussion and vocal is joined on the live tracks by pianist Joe Bonner, bassist Calvin Hill (who doubles on tamboura on a few tracks), percussionists Lawrence Killian, John Blue, Jimmy Hopps and drummer Michael Carvin. The studio piece ("Greeting to Saud") adds violinist Michael White, inaudible vocalist Sedatrius Brown and percussionist Kenneth Nash with Carvin sitting out.
The four live tracks show remarkable diversity-- opener "Elevation" feels closely related to "A Love Supreme" and "The Creator Has a Masterplan" with Sanders stating a four note theme and providing lovely solos before catching fire and exploding. The piece begins to cool off a bit when Hill takes a stunning bass solo leading into a staggered theme statement. But just as the piece starts to cook again, it fades out! This is a theme that repeats throughout the remainder of the tracks, be it the West-Indian tinged "Ore-Se-Rere" (which truthfully doesn't sit well with me at all-- I find it to a be quite frankly a bit irritating) and lovely soprano-over-drone piece "Spiritual Blessing" (one of the real highlights of the record). Thankfully spared this editing is the South African-influenced Sander screech-fest "The Gathering" (where again after Sanders brings the piece to a boil simmers with a superb solo from Hill), but the damage is pretty much done-- the editing really ruined the experience for me.
The studio track is interesting enough-- with lovely piano statements over a tamboura drone and a literal wall of percussion before a moody violin enters. But as one would expect, just as the piece starts to develop, it fades out.
One piece of good news-- sonically it lives up to the usual Impulse! reissues, but I miss the days before GRP/Impulse! was bought by Verve and they used to actually put some effort into reissues-- this is the sort of piece that could have really benefitted from having tracks restored. Newcomers to Sanders should start with "Karma", it's his best known for a reason, this one is probably for fans only."
R. Bland | 11/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A gem because it is mostly live, recorded at a defunct club in L.A. for unconventional styles. You must accept that at any moment P. Sanders can go from serene to surreal. If you can hold on, he'll bring it full circle. A good introduction or addition to a fan."
Essential Pharoah Sanders w/ Quad Mix Intact!
Yvonne Wiser | 03/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you're looking you know this cd is a must-have!Sure Impulse could've totally done a better job of packaging these re-issues BUT,and at least to me,it's a big but.They left the original QS encoded quad mixes intact!!! Which means to enjoy an awesome quad(surround sound for you newbs!) experience all you have to do is play this cd and activate the Dolby Prologic II Music(NOT Cinema!!!) function on your A/V receiver(Dolby PL II just happens to be a dead on QS surround decoder) Here's the settings you'll want to apply to your DPL II Music options
Panorama-ON Dimension-4 Center Width-7 or highest maximum(this effectively shuts off the Center channel for a true QUAD experience!
ALL of the Impulse cd re-issues that were originally quad lp's have the QS encoding intact so have a ball w/ 'em!