Pharoah Sanders came to town to play and was introduced as Jazz Royalty, which, truly, he is, even if he is now more a king than the joker he once was.
He played beautifully although maybe not enough (there were plenty of healthy solos for the whole band) but it’s fair to say his sound has mellowed a lot.
Now (and on tenor only) he sounds a lot more like players “from the tradition”, a big Texas sound that’d fit alongside Rollins, Cobb and even Webster & Hawkins.
Apart from the uber-cool little shuffle dance and a bit of singing there was hardly any “free jazz” screaming and hollering left at all.
Which is some way from the beautiful, intense, meditative fire music we’d all hoped to hear again and which is an amazing thing (and a thing of real joy) to remind ourselves of every once in a while:
But maybe the creator has a plan to explain why he doesn’t play like that anymore. We suppose it was something in that moment. But my god those Impulse! albums sound good.
[Pharoah Sanders made intense music in the late 60s and early 70s that defined “spiritual” jazz. Just buy it! Thembi; Astral Travelling; Karma; Deaf Dumb Blind; Tauhid; Jewels Of Thought & Black Unity are all wonders. Whatever you do, don’t buy a compilation because they all have edits that spoil them!]