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PHAROAH SANDERS - Tauhid cover
4.14 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1967


A Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt 16:12
B1 Japan 3:22
B2 Aum / Venus / Capricorn Rising 14:46


Bass - Henry Grimes
Drums - Roger Blank
Guitar - Sonny Sharrock
Percussion - Nat Bettis
Piano - Dave Burrell
Saxophone [Tenor], Saxophone [Alto], Piccolo Flute, Voice - Pharoah Sanders

About this release

Impulse! AS-9138(US)

Recorded At – Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 11/15/66

Thanks to Abraxas, snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Tauhid is an excellent work nearly on par with 1969's Karma. This record should not be overlooked by fans of avant-garde jazz, especially devotees of the trinity that is Coltrane, Ayler and Sanders. If you're here for the extraterrestrial, multi-tonal saxophone playing - you'll certainly find it.

The album begins with dense, modal piano, tremolo guitar and scattered percussion with Sanders characteristic sleigh bells periodically brightening the mix. At around five minutes, the band rests while Henry Grimes bows a few slow bars on the bass followed by Sanders coming in on the flute. The band members trade off improvising, often alone, until the nine minute mark when Dave Burrell comes in with the main piano riff that will last until the end of the first side of the record. The whole band comes in and Sanders finally lets loose on the sax; his performance is as masterful and 'out there' as ever, and if you're already a Pharoah fan - you know what to expect.

On side two of the album, my personal favorite Sanders track begins. 'Japan' only features Sanders on vocals; the melody is simple and amiable with gentle accompaniment from the rest of the band. Sanders' spiritual approach to music is perfectly manifested in this song, and one feels a harmony and closeness with Sanders that can't be found anywhere else in his discography. 'Japan' is a true highlight of the avant-garde era; its gentle approach unlike any other artist of the time.

The last track begins with a drum solo that quickly turns into group free improvisation. It is a medley with three parts that features plenty of Sanders on saxophone. This track is sonically more experimental and challenging than the first track, but there are still moments of blissful rest. The outro is sparse and quiet, with Sanders playing a slow exit.

Members reviews

Sean Trane
In the 60’s, there were dozens of black jazz artistes that expanded their musical universe to non-occidental musics, partly in their mind to escape the pure jazz realm that they thought had been annexed by the white music industry. Indeed some of those artistes thought about the Civil Rights movement of those years, and chose to break the musical rules they thought imposed by the musical industry, by either going to dissonant improvised music or by going to “world” type of musics. Among these musicians, Pharoah Sanders probably went much further than most by doing both the dissonant and the world things. It’s probably safe to say that his revolt pushed him to search further his African roots than most, as Sanders converted to Islam and wore African-made clothes. In some ways in his quest, he happily mixed Sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt and Middle East influences, and even went well beyond sometimes reaching as far as Eastern Asia influences. Another impeccably-produced album from the Thiele-Van Gelder team, really.

Apparently, this is Pharoah’s second solo album (that was news to me), but it’s clear that most of his works for the next few years would bear the Coltrane sign, even in the most “world-influenced” moments, but like most ‘or all) of his works bazck then, there is a strong spiritual dimension to it. The musicians he gathered for this 1967 album are rather different than the ones you’re used to hear around Sanders in the next few years, but you wouldn’t really notice it. Indeed, Burrell’s piano is well within the Alice/McCoy and Liston-Smith line, which definitely gives it the Trane Galaxy sound. In the opening Lower & Upper Egypt that starts on those typical piano lines, Pharoah plays some seldom-heard (then) instruments like the piccolo, while Bettis’ superb percussions abound, Sharrock’s discreet electric guitar giving much-needed oomph when necessary. After the Nile song is dying out slowly, we’re unfortunately faced on the flipside with the Far-Eastern influenced Japan, which I find quite boring and totally out of context from the rest of the album, but thankfully it’s rather short. Much more in line with the usual Sanders universe is the Aum/Venus/Capricorn piece, a full-blown dissonant improvisation (Sanders says they’re written though) track, which does give you some brief recuperation spaces to catch your sanity (or what’s left of it anyway)

Well Tauhid is probably one of my favourite Pharoah releases, even though he would expand musically much further in albums like Jewels Of Thought, but I’ve always preferred his calmer expression than his full dissonant revolt against oppression. If only for the opening track and its impressive piano-guitar intro of Lower Egypt, this album is a must-hear.

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  • piccolomini
  • Fant0mas
  • bankstatement
  • LovelyZoundz
  • BORA
  • Drummer
  • darkprinceofjazz
  • richby

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