May 19, 2011

Pharoah Sanders Quartet - The Creator Has A Master Plan

barabara sounds sez:
Late-period Pharoah, and by this time (2003) he has mellowed substantially. The fire is muted but, like all the great players, he still has his tone and his edge.

Yes, much of the album is located well in the jazz centerfield, focusing mostly on down-tempo ballads. And yes the album includes 6 minutes of outright dross that you should program out of your playlist and your life for ever (look at the track listing and you know already which one I mean). But there are also some fine moments of pure Pharoah, especially on the three longest tracks.

Plus there's a reason why this album is memorable to me, at least. The last time I saw him play live was with on this same visit to Tokyo that he laid down these sides. With these same fine musicians in his group. In a small club, and from very close up. He's been back a couple of times since then (I missed the gigs) but who knows, I may never have that chance again...

dusty sez:
A nice mix of the two sides of Pharoah Sanders – the spiritual jazz elements first developed in his Coltrane years, and some of the more straight-styled blowing he explored in later years! The album's got a bit more of the latter than the former – despite the title – but it still is a beautiful demonstration of the deep, deep soul found in Sanders' tenor – still a tremendously expressive instrument after all these years!

Pharoah Sanders tenor sax; William Henderson piano; Ira Coleman bass; Joe Farnsworth drums

Want To Talk About You; Moon Rays; Tokyo Blues; Greatest Love Of All; The Creator Has A Master Plan; Welcome; Tina; It's Easy To Remember

recorded April 23, 2003 at Wonder Station, Tokyo.


Anonymous said...


-Otto- said...

I'm very much OK with Pharoah doing ballads. He had some "odd" albums in the late 70s and early 80s, trying to "pop" it up. For my taste, ballads suit him better in his old(er) age. Thanks!

taro nombei said...

@ -Otto-
Me too, the ballads are fine by me — just not pop pap.
(yes I know the Greatest Love was recorded by George Benson first, but that doesn't make it any better...)

freebones said...

i saw this exact lineup (albeit with a different bassist) at birdland just a few weeks ago. it was marvelous, and he has a lot of fire back in his playing from the early part of the decade. delightful. many thanks.

taro nombei said...

@ freebones
glad to hear that.

ish said...

Thanks for this TN. Believe it or not I have always passed this one by, even Sanders addict that I am. Pharoah's straight-ahead numbers since the 1980s are pleasant, but I find them a little boring. I'm liking the cover of Welcome here a lot though, and always glad for another version of Creator. Thanks much!

PS thanks for the hat tip on my Scott-Heron tribute.

taro nombei said...

@ ish
greetings and good to hear from you — though surprised to hear you'd slept/passed on this album up to now.
I know what you mean about his mainstream numbers. But instead of 'boring' I'd just say 'non-essential' — what with so much other great music he's made.

PS you're welcome!