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Pharoah Sanders possesses one of the most distinctive tenor saxophone sounds in jazz. Harmonically rich and heavy with overtones, Sanders' sound can be as raw and abrasive as it is possible for a saxophonist to produce. Yet, Sanders is highly regarded to the point of reverence by a great many jazz fans. He made his name with expressionistic, nearly anarchic free jazz in John Coltrane's late ensembles of the mid-'60s. The hallmarks of Sanders' playing at that time were naked aggression and unrestrained passion. In the years after Coltrane's death, however, Sanders explored other, somewhat gentler and perhaps more cerebral avenues - without, it should be added, sacrificing any of the intensity that defined his work as an apprentice to Coltrane.
Sanders made his first record as a leader in 1964. "Tauhid" was his first album after the death of John Coltrane in 1967.
"'Upper Egypt And Lower Egypt' is so perfect that the rest of Tauhid tends to get forgotten, but the four shorter tracks which complete the album, totalling another 18:08, are also magnificent. 'Japan,' inspired by Sanders' tour of the country with Coltrane's band in the summer of 1966, is as pretty as pink lotus blossom. 'Aum' and 'Venus,' the first with Sanders on alto, are tougher and further out, before the concluding 'Capricorn Rising' re-establishes the album's peaceful opening vibe... In retrospect, the first cut was indeed the deepest, and for many devotees Tauhid remains Sanders' astral jazz muthalode, and 'Upper Egypt And Lower Egypt' his finest (quarter) hour.
Upper Egypt And Lower Egypt