Pharoah Sanders: Medley: Aum-Venus-Capricorn Rising


Medley: Aum-Venus-Capricorn Rising


Pharoah Sanders (tenor & alto saxes, piccolo flute, voice)


Tauhid (Impulse GRD-129)

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Pharoah Sanders (tenor & alto saxes, piccolo flute, voice), Sonny Sharrock (guitar),

Dave Burrell, piano; Henry Grimes, bass; Roger Blank, drums; Nat Bettis, percussion


Composed by Pharoah Sanders


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 15, 1966


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Pharoah Sanders here creates an almost mystical soundscape, transporting the listener into a part of the mind that can be both disruptive and revelatory. In this three-part piece, the listener is almost assaulted with harsh and at times cacophonous sounds from Sanders's probing alto and Sharrock's discordant guitar. Brilliant comping by Grimes on bass, Burrell on piano and Bettis on his percussive arsenal establish an atmosphere that runs the gamut from all-out war to peaceful ascension into the afterlife. Pharoah begins "Aum" with a crescendo of rapid-fire notes seemingly without meaningful direction, but his frenetic playing abruptly changes course with firm resolve, transporting the listener to a discovery of beauty in "Venus." His passion during this middle piece is nothing short of breathtaking in its soul-baring beauty, and is perhaps his finest moment on the entire album. His lyricism, which he is often accused of abandoning, is demonstrated to great effect. His artistry is unquestioned.

In "Capricorn Rising," the final part of this three-piece suite, Sanders's raspy soul-searching sound soars in a high-register climb up a wall of expression. The suite ends in a Coltranesque way. The Creator surely has a master plan, and with this brilliant composition and performance Pharoah Sanders certainly helps us see what it might be.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello


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