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In the Beginning 1963-1965

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Audio CD, June 26, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Pharoah Sanders In the Beginning 1963 - 1964 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 its 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 It's an important historical document of a major player. Sun Ra - Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold In 1964, Sun Ra asked the young tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders to join him, while Arkestra mainstay John Gilmore was busy working with Paul Bley, Andrew Hill, and Art Blakey. Before the recording's original release in 1976, Sun Ra stated: "It should be very interesting to the world to show what the pre-Coltrane Pharoah Sanders was like." Also appearing on "Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold" is the little-heard flautist, Black Harold (Harold Murray), who takes the lead on the track "The Voice of Pan," continuing into "Dawn over Israel." Bassist Alan Silva (ESP 1091) also does some fine bass work on the release. "Featuring Pharoah Sanders & Black Harold" is notable not only for its unique lineup, but also for the first known recording of the composition "The Shadow World," here titled "The World Shadow," which was featured on later Arkestra albums.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 26, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Label: ESP Disk, Ltd.
  • ASIN: B007C7FBIA
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,549 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jazzman on May 3, 2015
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Responding to the only other review of this item, there is no substitute for complete recordings, those sets that include the already-released material, previously unissued outtakes, unreleased tracks, and interviews with the artist and others. Sound quality is excellent. Please ignore the other unbalanced, unfair review of this item.

I would rate this set 4 1/2 stars. This was the first PS item that I have purchased. I bought it for about $19 plus shipping, a very good price. 3 1/2 hours playing time. Music and interviews. I have listened to the material on this 4-CD set. His first recordings are very listenable. Not angry, bitter, loud--NOT Albert Ayler at his worst. Kind of sweet and gentle, moving out in a new direction. Bethera is based on chord changes on a standard (I Never Knew?). Don Cherry, Paul Bley, Sun Ra--music masters of The New Music that emerged in the very early 1960s. Don Cherry interviews re Ornette Coleman. Sanders speaks, explains his philosophy in playing music and living life, speaks intuitively about Coltrane, Don Cherry, Sun Ra and others, and life on the street in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s. On balance, this set is priceless.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 13, 2012
Take care guys and gals this set is poor value for money. You can buy the albums separately for far cheaper than this box set.

Save your hard earned dosh. The albums individually are quite good though not Pharoah's best.
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