Day 3 - Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, June 30, 2006
The next and last stop of the evening was at the Spectrum for the Pharoah Sanders Quartet. There were many question marks surrounding this concert. Whom would the legendary tenor saxophonist play with? The information did not seem to have been made available beforehand. [Editor's Note: the group was William Henderson on piano, Dezron Douglas on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums] What would he play? Ballads? Free jazz classics? In the end, the audience was served with very traditional free jazz. The concert opened with a 30-minute piece played according to the rules of the art. After a theme, Sanders took a long solo while the piano, double bass and drums maintained the melody and rhythm in the background. After that, it was the pianist's turn followed by the bass player and finally the drummer. Sanders then took another short solo and the theme was played again as a conclusion. The second piece was a ballad, albeit played in a muscular fashion, and followed a similar structure minus the drums solo. The main problem of the concert was neither that the Pharoah Sanders Quartet played free jazz with all the indulgence it can implythis is probably what he does best after allnor that they opted for very traditional structures. In a way, to play free jazz is probably as valid as be-bop or any other historical form of jazz. It rather was that the execution was uninventive, uninspired and thus seemed formulaic for the most part. Business as usual as they say... but the crowd seemed to like it!
Victor Diaz Lamich