2012 CD boxset.
This four CD set documents the first recordings of the iconic tenor saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders, prior to his well-known association with John Coltrane. Beginning with two previously unreleased sessions with Ornette Coleman alumni Don Cherry and Paul Bley, followed by Pharoah's debut date as a leader for ESP-Disk and concluding with the first issue ever of the complete the December 30 and 31, 1964 Sun Ra at Judson Hall concerts, Sanders only known recordings with the Arkestra the set also includes rare recorded interviews with Sanders, Cherry, Bley and Ra by ESP-Disk's music producer Michael D. Anderson.
With Coltrane, Sanders would become known for extremely atonal blowing using extended techniques, but on his September 20, 1964 ESP session (as on most of his work as a leader) he does not go to those extremes. That's not to say that Pharoah's First is easy listening or not forward-looking for it's time; the record consists of long tracks over 26 and 23 minutes. While the other musicians mostly work in an advanced bebop style with occasional nods to modality (mostly pianist Jane Getz's accompaniment behind the leader), Sanders is clearly the most progressive player, overblowing and using other coloristic effects, unleashing flurries of notes outside the chord progressions, and basically sounding as intense as the other four players combined. It's an important historical document of a major player.
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