PHAROAH SANDERS — Karma

Jazz music community with review and forums

PHAROAH SANDERS - Karma cover
4.56 | 30 ratings | 2 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 1969

Tracklist

A The Creator Has A Master Plan Part 1 19:20
B1 The Creator Has A Master Plan Part 2 13:36
B2 Colors 5:36

Total Time: 38:25

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Reggie Workman, Richard Davis (tracks A,B1),Ron Carter(track B2)
Drums – William Hart(tracks A,B1),Frederick Waits (track B2)
Flute – James Spaulding (tracks A,B1)
French Horn – Julius Watkins
Percussion – Nathaniel Bettis (tracks A,B1)
Piano – Lonnie L. Smith Jr
Tenor Saxophone – Pharoah Sanders
Vocals, Percussion – Leon Thomas

About this release

Impulse! – AS-9181(US)

The Creator Has A Master Plan recorded: February 14, 1969
Colors recorded: February 19, 1969

Thanks to Abraxas, snobb, dreadpirateroberts for the updates

Buy PHAROAH SANDERS - KARMA music

More places to buy metal & PHAROAH SANDERS music

PHAROAH SANDERS KARMA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Abraxas
Pharoah Sanders might well be the king (or pharaoh, in this case) of what I like to call "hippie jazz". I refer hippie jazz to the music that was inspired by John Coltrane's vision of religions and God, this music has the feel, and sometimes lyrics, expressing peace and love in the earth. Other supporters of this movement would be Alice Coltrane, Lonnie Liston Smith, Leon Thomas, among other like-minded musicians.

When John Coltrane added Pharoah to his classic quartet by 1965, Sanders was seen as either a potentially great avant-garde saxophonists or simply an ear-ache, with his extensive appliance of shrieks.

With the death of Trane, Sanders went solo and his playing matured with each new release, although still using the shrieks as a method to express ecstasy in the music, it is clear that Pharoah became a great unique tenor saxophonist, and not only that, his compositions were also unique and praised by the avant-garde jazz audience.

It is in Karma, released in 1969, where Pharoah’s full potential is shown in, and in my opinion this is his magnum opus, and one of the high points of the avant-garde movement.

The album has only two compositions, a 32 minute piece called ‘The Creator Has a Masterplan’ and a rather short in comparison tune called ‘Colors’. It is obvious that it is the big piece the central part of the album, and what makes this Pharoah’s greatest album.

‘The Creator Has a Masterplan’ can be considered as a continuation to Coltrane’s masterpiece ‘A Love Supreme’, both have that simple, hypnotizing bass line (although made slightly different), both open in an abrupt way with wailing saxophone evoking a supreme being, and both deal explicit, with lyrics, the adoration of a God, no matter what religion. Agree or not with these spiritual views, no one can deny the whole euphoric feel that these two mega-compositions achieve. However, Pharoah does not rip-off ‘A Love Supreme’, he makes his own “love supreme” composition. It is a way more tranquil and spiritual-sounding composition than anything Coltrane ever did, and the composition is by far denser in terms of instrumentation, lots of Eastern percussion plus the addition of Leon Thomas’ magnificent vocals. It’s no surprise that Lonnie Liston Smith is in here as well, playing his piano which is pure bliss. Warning, Sanders does happen to shriek with the whole band in a pure chaotic way for a few minutes, although not pleasant, it’s something that the tenor man would do throughout his whole career, and some few chaotic minutes in a 32 minute euphoric piece is more than ok for me.

As for the second and last track, ‘Colors’, it’s actually another gem, although a minor one. It continues with the love-and-peace themes and feel, but it’s not an extension of the main piece. This time Leon Thomas expresses sadness in an ecstatic way, and as a whole it’s a beautiful closer, where Pharoah does well avoiding any shrieks.

Truthfully no words can really express what I feel when I listen to both of these “supernatural” pieces, I just recommend you, open-minded jazz listener, to give them a try.

Don't fear the avant-garde jazz label, it’s not really free in any similar way to Albert Ayler’s free jazz or Coltrane’s late free jazz, with the exception of the occasional shrieks. Karma, and Sanders discography in general, is pretty accessible for anyone accustomed to lengthy saxophone solos and repetitive themes.

Members reviews

Sean Trane
Generally regarded as one of the better or more influential Pharoah piece, Karma is a spiritual work as its title and artwork obviously indicate; somewhere stuck between Trane’s meditative realm and Sun Ra’s celestial explorations. Actually some sanders purists would prefer later albums like Black Unity, but the fact is that Sander’s explorations are still quite accessible here, despite having invited Leon Thomas’s voice to soften the experimental propos.

Only two tracks on this album, one clocking some 33-mins, a spiritual repetitive (ala turk or dervish) Master Plan, where you can’t help but thinking of Trane’s Love Supreme borrowings or influences, down to the piano and the contrabass riff. Indeed the slow evolution of this “epic” track is not exactly enthralling, but it does have some anesthetizing qualities and wrap around your ears a safety blanket through a mild spiritual trance (despite Leon Thomas’s mildly irritating chants/scats) until the Master Plan develops in a monstrous cacophonic few minutes where all hell breaks loose (from the 20-mins mark onwards), before settling back into a softer invocation of the calm after the storm. Overall, Master plan is fairly accessible, but if you’re into evolving pieces, rather than trance-induced grooves, you’re probably not going to find that much beef in Wendy’s hamburgers. Nest to that monster, the (much) shorter closing Colors is much calmer, and again calls on the Trane legacy.

Sanders’s definite step forward into his quest or drive for spiritualism and outlet for his revolt found some excellent grounds here, despite some repetitions, and he persevere in that direction a few months later with the almost-too-much Jewels of thought album, with the same frontmen (minus Spaulding’s flute), but a different “rhythm section”. In the meantime, it’s much safer to go down sanders’ route in a chronological manner and first discover the present album before proceeding to Jewels.

Ratings only

  • MoogHead
  • Anster
  • MattGuitat
  • JimmyJazz
  • snobb
  • eurothe65
  • KK58
  • chrijom
  • bankstatement
  • Okocha
  • LovelyZoundz
  • Ponker
  • BORA
  • Ryu
  • JBThazard
  • stevedupreez
  • darkshade
  • Moahaha
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • danielpgz
  • Drummer
  • POW
  • toitoi2
  • kostasprog
  • Noak2
  • rigoboy
  • richby
  • Tychovski

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Cathedral Jazz Related Improv/Composition
JEREMIAH CYMERMAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
Ernesto Rodrigues, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Rodrigo Pinheiro : Multiforms Jazz Related Improv/Composition
ERNESTO RODRIGUES
Buy this album from MMA partners
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids : Shaman! African Fusion
IDRIS ACKAMOOR
Buy this album from MMA partners
Color Of Noize Nu Jazz
DERRICK HODGE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Kenton Trilogy Part Three Big Band
STAN KENTON
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

Derrick Hodge - Not Right Now (Visualizer)
DERRICK HODGE
js· 16 hours ago
Yalla
TARIK HASSAN
js· 19 hours ago
Morse
DEEP FORD (ROBIN FINCKER | BENOIT DELBECQ | SYLVAIN DARRIFOURCQ)
js· 21 hours ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us