Music is human. And here, King of Bongo will show you the best music available on the internet. What you will find: a vibrant source of sounds and vibes, grooves and noise, some you will never have heard before. Are you ready to go on the journey?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Session 5: AfroAmerica Part 2: Pharoah Sanders

Sun Ra dubbed 22-year-old Ferrell Sanders "Pharoah" when they performed together in New York in 1962. Why? Well, who knows, but the name stuck - and of course, from Sun Ra it was a prophecy. It's hard to believe that going through your life named Ferrell would inspire you to commune with your ancient and mystical roots....

Moving into the John Coltrane Jazz Universe in '65, young Pharoah gleefully joined in with 'Trane's experimental flowering, until the master's death in '67. After spending a while in collaboration with Alice Coltrane, Pharoah began an earnest exploration of his African roots, culminating in some exquisite sounds, a pure meld of African and Jazz.

Less political than Mr Shepp, Pharoah delved in to the spiritual side of music, and despite some ill-advised forays into commerciality, has maintained that link.

Trying to select a sample Pharoah track from his early '70s period is difficult, as his LP's are of a piece. Collaborator (and soon to be reinvented 'Love-Boat'-style character) Lonnie Liston Smith and Sanders created a strong theme of Afro-centric rhythms, over which Pharoah and other initiates such as Cecil McBee (Bass) soloed and worked-out. It's at this time that Pharoah developed the uncanny ability to make "a saxophone to continue to shriek for minutes after removing it from his mouth".

To King of Bongo, it's a toss-up between 'Thembi' and 'Summun, Bukmun, Umyun' as to the best LP of the period. And as the 2 tracks of 'Summun, Bukman, Umyun' are 20 mins each, 'Thembi' it is.
Thembi, by Pharoah Sanders

Buy "Thembi" from Amazon

From the origal liner notes by Keorapetse Kgositsile:
Continuities, yes,
the song, memorial and now.
It is from here
Pharoah takes our ear
breaking the silence of our spirit & walls.
Remember slave bells?
And desire? Red, Black & Green;
THEMBI, the woman, home.

The six tracks on the album explore the full range of Pharoah's preoccupations: Astral Travelling (composed by Lonnie Liston Smith) is a melodic meditation piece, Red, Black & Green is a true wigout; Love contains a celebrated bass solo by McBee; Morning Dance follows, with a celebratory theme overlaid on tribal percussion, merging into the final track, Bailophone Dance, where Pharoah does his furious sax delivery.

Featuring Pharoah (soprano & tenor sax, bells, percussion), Michael White (violin, percussion), Lonnie Liston Smith (piano, electric piano, claves, percussion), Cecil McBee (Bass, finger cymbals, percussion) et al, title track Thembi was recorded on November 25 1970 at The Record plant, NYC. Dedicated to daughter Nomathemba Sanders, a Xhosa name meaning hope, faith and love. And with love, King of Bongo presents:
Thembi, by Pharoah Sanders [mp3 | 07:02 mins | 192 kbps | 9.96 MB]
File under: Thembi, the woman, home
[Click on the link and you’ll be taken to yousendit where you can download the track. First come first served people, only 7 days and/or 25 downloads allowed!]

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