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Pharoah Sanders: Live In Paris (1975)

Chris May By

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Pharoah Sanders' catalogue of newly-discovered album releases is expanding as fast as those of his fellow travellers Alice Coltrane and John Coltrane. Which is great, but... most of the albums were recorded live, sometimes with poor audio capture, and do not always find the musicians at their best. You have to pick and choose between them. A further consideration is the legitimacy or otherwise of the releases and whether it is acceptable to support pirates and bootleggers. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to living artists such as Sanders.

The good news is that the eighteen months from summer 2019 to spring 2020 have seen the first-time release, or in one case reissue, of three Sanders albums which tick the artistic quality, audio quality and ethical-consideration boxes. All three are location recordings. August 2019 saw the reissue of the rare as hens' teeth The Trance Of Seven Colors, recorded in front of an invited audience in Marrakesh by Sanders and a group of gnawa musicians led by Maleem Mamoud Ghania. It was originally released on producer Bill Laswell's Axiom label in 1994. Summer 2019 also saw the first-time release of Live At Antibes Jazz Festival Juan-Les-Pins (Alternative Fox), recorded in 1968 by German radio station WDR3.

Fast forward to spring 2020... Live In Paris (1975) is another radio recording, this one made by France's ORTF in front of an invited audience at Studio 104 in Paris. The Antibes performance presented Sanders as he moved from the unrequited ferocity of his ESP and late-period John Coltrane recordings towards a more temperate, but still gritty, spell under his own name at Impulse!. The Paris recording is transitional, too. In 1975, Sanders had not long previously been dropped by Impulse! in a cost-cutting cull by the label's new owners, ABC Records.

The album has Sanders fronting a shortlived and otherwise unrecorded quartet completed by keyboardist Danny Mixon, bassist Calvin Hill and drummer Greg Bandy. The material includes Sanders' signature tune "The Creator Has A Master Plan," which also featured on the Antibes album and which Sanders was still playing in 2018, when he performed at London's Barbican Centre. It also includes "Love Is Everywhere," from his Impulse! swansong, Love In Us All (1974). The track is the highlight of the album, with Sanders at his most shamanistic, though a reading of Billy Eckstine's ballad "I Want To Talk About You" is also memorable.

Hardcore Sanders connoisseurs will find Live In Paris (1975) a worthwhile addition to their collections.

Track Listing

Side One: Love Is Here Part 1; Love Is Here Part 2; Farrell Tune. Side Two: The Creator Has A Master Plan; I Want To Talk About You; Love Is Everywhere.

Personnel

Pharoah Sanders: saxophone, tenor; Danny Mixon: piano; Calvin Hill: bass, acoustic; Greg Bandy: drums.

Album information

Title: Live In Paris (1975) | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Transversales Disques

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