Pharoah Sanders – Thembi 1971


This 1971 classic, named after his wife at the time, taps again into the spiritual, avantgarde jazz which has made him one of the most famous tenor saxophone players in the world. Named Pharoah by intergalactic Birmingham, Alabama native Sun Ra, Sanders is also recognized as one of the major influences on John Coltrane’s later dissonant style of playing after their collaborations on both the Ascension and Meditations albums recorded in June and November of 1965.With Lonnie Liston Smith on piano, Michael White on violin, Clifford Jarvis on drums, Chief Bey (of Babatunde Olatunji fame) on percussion and Cecil Mcbee on bass, you can feel the magic and otherworldliness of this beautiful, but yet edgy album. If you get your hands on this one, listen closely to Cecil McBee’s bass solo on “Love”, an intricate take on the music scale as we know it, but the violin segue into “Morning Prayer” has me wanting to post the whole album(!). Needless to say, Pharoah lays it down in his fresh yet familiar way, so grab this one up if you can find it, play it on a Sunday morning and you’ll be flying high for the rest of the day.
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