PHAROAH SANDERS — Tauhid (review)

PHAROAH SANDERS — Tauhid album cover Album · 1967 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
liontime
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.
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