PHAROAH SANDERS — Pharoah (review)

PHAROAH SANDERS — Pharoah album cover Album · 1977 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
2.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
By the time that this album was released in 77, there wasn’t a single member left from the classic-line-up (or Sanders crowd) of the early 70’s, but it doesn’t mean that this album is any less worthy. It’s also notable that this album is not an Impulse product, but released on the small India Navigation label and starts Sanders’s relative instability, shifting more from labels first Arista, then settling with Theresa Records, but let’s face it, Pharoah’s better moments were behind him for a while. But the present album (with a nice barren shrub picture) came after a two years gap without a release, but it was still rather interesting, if only for the A-side.

Opening softly on the 21-mins Harvest Time, it tends to groove slowly until grinding to a halt some 10 minutes into the track. Bell percussions spark up the harmonium and slowly Pharoah’s sax re-enters the picture and the next 10 minutes are spent under a soft spell. On the flipside, the 14-mins+ Love Will Find A Way is not exactly of the same calibre, poor sound, and Sanders’s very “iffy” vocals, followed by screechy sax interventions of his, but id goes softer relatively soon, but fails to match the Harvest’s quality, despite a nice organ part in the second half. The closing Memories piece is a bit more enthralling, but it’s rather clear that the people behind the desk are in over their heads for these sessions.

A poor-sounding album (not sure a proper remastering will better it either), Pharoah signifies a half successful return to business from Sanders, but we’re still quite far away from his Impulse days, but much lesser works will come in the following years. If you need one non-Impulse album, make it this one.

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