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Showing posts with label Free Jazz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Free Jazz. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Alice Coltrane

For more than five decades, the Coltrane name remains at the forefront of modern music. It is lauded throughout the United States as well as internationally where it has received great acclaim. The musical offerings cover an eclectic variety of artistic expressions recorded on ABC Impulse, Warner Bros., and Impulse-Universal.

She was born and raised in the religious family of Solon and Anne McLeod in Detroit, Michigan, once hailed as a major musical capitol. Alice became interested in music and began her study of the piano at the age of seven. She consistently and diligently practiced and studied classical music. Subsequently, she enrolled in a more advanced study of the music of Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Stravinsky and Tschaikowsky. She once said: "Classical music for me, was an extensive, technical study for many years. At that time, I discovered it to be a truly profound music with a highly intellectual ambiance. I will always appreciate it with a kind remembrance and great esteem. Subsequent to the completion of her studies, she said, "The classical artist must respectfully recreate the composer's meaning. Although, with jazz music, you are allowed to develop your own creativity, improvisation and expression. This greatly inspires me."

She graduated from high school with a scholarship to the Detroit Institute of Technology; however, her musical achievements began to echo throughout the city, to the extent that she played in many music halls, choirs and churches, for various occasions as weddings, funerals, and religious programs. Her skills and abilities were highly enhanced when she began playing piano and organ for the gospel choir, and for the junior and senior choirs at her church. In later years, she would further her musical attributes by including organ, harp and synthesizer to her accomplishments.

After moving to New York in the early sixties, Alice met and married John Coltrane, the great creator of avant-garde music and genius and master of the tenor and soprano saxophones. His parents were very spiritual, and dedicated to service in the church in which his father faithfully served. John's mother, Mrs. Alice Coltrane, Sr., was a fine singer. He was blessed to have them as his parents.

The innovative, futuristic sounds of the Coltrane musical heritage have set a new pace for modern music that sounded the unstruck chord throughout the world. And it resounded in the hearts of many people creating a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. The vision they shared became a bright effulgence from the lighthouse of polyphonic, ethereal, universal sound, bringing clarity and understanding of the music and enhancing appreciation of it to the people.

As a leader

  • A Monastic Trio (Impulse!, 1967)
  • Cosmic Music (Impulse!, 1966-68) with John Coltrane
  • Huntington Ashram Monastery (Impulse!, 1969)
  • Ptah, the El Daoud (Impulse!, 1970)
  • Journey in Satchidananda (Impulse!, 1970)
  • Universal Consciousness (Impulse!, 1972)
  • World Galaxy (1972)
  • Lord of Lords (1973)
  • John Coltrane: Infinity (1973)
  • Reflection on Creation and Space (a Five Year View) (1973)
  • Illuminations (1974) with Carlos Santana
  • Eternity (1975)
  • Radha-Krisna Nama Sankirtana (1976)
  • Transcendence (1977)
  • Transfiguration (1978)
  • Turiya Sings (1982)
  • Divine Songs (1987)
  • Infinite Chants (1990)
  • Glorious Chants (1995)
  • Priceless Jazz (1998)
  • The Music of Alice Coltrane: Astral Meditations (1999)
  • Translinear Light (2004)
  • The Impulse Story (2006)

As a sideperson
With John Coltrane
  • Live at the Village Vanguard Again! (Impulse!, 1966)
  • Live in Japan (Impulse!, 1966 [1973])
  • Stellar Regions (Impulse!, 1966)
  • Expression (Impulse!, 1967)
  • The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording (Impulse!, 1967)

With Terry Gibbs
  • Terry Gibbs Plays Jewish Melodies in Jazztime (Mercury, 1963)
  • Hootenanny My Way (Mercury, 1963)
  • El Nutto (Limelight, 1964)

With Charlie Haden
  • Closeness (Horizon, 1976)

With Joe Henderson

  • The Elements (Milestone, 1973)

With McCoy Tyner
  • Extensions (Blue Note, 1970)
Live Albums
  • Alice Coltrane Live (1972)
  • Alice Coltrane Quartet Live In Warsaw (1987)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pharoah Sanders

Pharoah Sanders (born October 13, 1940) is a Grammy Award–winning American jazz saxophonist.
Saxophonist Ornette Coleman once described him as "probably the best tenor player in the world." Emerging from John Coltrane's groups of the mid-60s Sanders is known for his overblowing, harmonic, and multiphonic techniques on the saxophone, as well as his use of "sheets of sound." Sanders is an important figure in the development of free jazz; Albert Ayler famously said "Trane was the Father, Pharoah was the Son, I am the Holy Ghost.

Born Ferrell Sanders in Little Rock, Arkansas, he began his professional career playing tenor saxophone in Oakland, California. He moved to New York City in 1961 after playing with rhythm and blues bands. He received his nickname "Pharoah" from bandleader Sun Ra, with whom he was performing. After moving to New York, Sanders had been destitute: "He was often living on the streets, under straits, where ever he could find to stay, his clothes in tatters. Sun Ra gave him a place to stay, bought him a new pair of green pants with yellow stripes (which Sanders hated but had to have), encouraged him to use the name 'Pharoah', and gradually worked him into the band."
Sanders came to greater prominence playing with John Coltrane's band, starting in 1965, as Coltrane began adopting the avant-garde jazz of Albert Ayler, Ra and Cecil Taylor. Sanders first performed on Coltrane's Ascension (recorded in June 1965), then on their dual-tenor recording Meditations (recorded in November 1965). After this Sanders joined Coltrane's final quintet, usually performing very lengthy, dissonant solos. Coltrane's later style was strongly influenced by Sanders. Amiri Baraka lays claim naming him Pharoah in an early sixties Downbeat review[citation needed] upon hearing him introduce himself as Farrell Sanders and thinking he said "Pharaoh Sanders."
Although Sanders' voice developed differently from Coltrane, Sanders was strongly influenced by their collaboration together. Spiritual elements such as the chanting in Om would later show up in many of Sanders' own works. Sanders would also go on to produce much free jazz, modified from Coltrane's solo-centric conception. In 1968 he participated in Michael Mantler and Carla Bley's Jazz Composer's Orchestra Association album The Jazz Composer's Orchestra, featuring Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Larry Coryell and Gato Barbieri.
In the 1970s, Sanders pursued his own recordings and continued to work with the likes of Alice Coltrane on her Journey In Satchidananda album. Most of Sanders' best-selling work was made in the late 60's and early 70s for Impulse Records, including the 30-minute wave-on-wave of free jazz "The Creator has a Master Plan" from the album Karma. This composition featured vocalist Leon Thomas' unique, "umbo weti" yodeling, and Sanders' key musical partner, pianist Lonnie Liston Smith, who worked with Sanders from 1969-1971. Other members of his groups in this period include bassist Cecil McBee, on albums such as Jewels of Thought, Izipho Zam, Deaf Dumb Blind and Thembi.
Although supported by African-American radio, Sanders' brand of free jazz became less popular. From the experiments with African rhythms on the 1971 album Black Unity (with bassist Stanley Clarke) onwards he began to diversify his sound. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Sanders explored different musical modes including R'n'B (Love Will Find a Way), modal jazz, and hard bop.
In 1994 he traveled to Morocco to record the Bill Laswell-produced album The Trance Of Seven Colors with Gnawa musician Mahmoud Guinia. Sanders worked with Laswell, Jah Wobble, and others on the albums Message From Home (1996) and Save Our Children (1998). In 1999, he complained in an interview that despite his pedigree, he had trouble finding work. The same year, Sanders appeared on the Red Hot Organization's album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, on the track "This is Madness" with Umar bin Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole and the bonus track, "The Creator Has A Master Plan (Trip hop Remix)." The album was named "Album of the Year" by Time.
In the 2000s, a resurgence of interest in jazz has kept Sanders playing festivals including the 2007 Melbourne Jazz Festival and the 2008 Big Chill Festival, concerts, and releasing albums. He has a strong following in Japan, and in 2003 recorded with the band Sleep Walker. Pharoah Sanders is currently represented by Addeo Music International.



As leader

  • 1964-Pharoah's First(ESP-Disk)
  • 1966-Tauhid(Impulse! Records)
  • 1969-Izipho Zam (Strata-East Records)
  •  1969-Karma(Impulse!)
  • 1969-Jewels of Thought(Impulse!)
  • 1970-Deaf Dumb Blind (Summun Bukmun Umyun)(Impulse!)
  • 1971-Thembi(Impulse!)
  • 1971-Village of the Pharoahs(Impulse!)
  • 1971-Black Unity(Impulse!)
  • 1971-Live at the East(Impulse!)
  • 1972-Wisdom Through Music(Impulse!)
  • 1973-Elevation(Impulse!) 
  • 1973-Love in Us All(ASD)
  • 1974-Voyage to Uranus(Capitol)
  • 1977-Pharoah(India Navigation)
  • 1977-Love Will Find a Way(Arista)
  • 1978-Beyond a Dream(with Norman Connors)(Arista)
  • 1980-Journey to the One (Theresa (Evidence))
  • 1981-Live(Theresa (Evidence))
  • 1981-Rejoice(Theresa (Evidence))
  • 1982-Heart is a Melody(Theresa (Evidence))
  • 1985-Shukuru(Theresa (Evidence))
  • 1989-Oh Lord, Let Me Do No Wrong(Columbia)
  • 1987-A Prayer Before Dawn(Theresa (Evidence))
  • 1987-Africa(Timeless)
  • 1989-Moonchild(Timeless)
  • 1990-Welcome to Love(Timeless)
  • 1992-Crescent with Love(Evidence)
  • 1994-The Trance Of Seven Colors (with Mahmoud Guinia)(Axiom)
  • 1995-Naima(Evidence)
  • 1996-Message from Home(Verve)
  • 1999-Save our Children(Verve)
  • 2000-Spirits(Meta)
  • 2003-With a Heartbeat(Evolver)
  • 2003-The Creator Has a Master Plan(Venus)

As sideman

With John Coltrane

With Alice Coltrane

  • A Monastic Trio (1968)
  • Ptah, the El Daoud (1970)
  • Journey in Satchidananda (1970)

With Don Cherry

  • Symphony for Improvisers (1966)
  • Where Is Brooklyn? (1967)
with Norman Connors
  • Romantic Journey (1977)
  • This is your Life (1977)
  • Remember Who You Are (1993)

with others
  • 1964-Sun Ra-feat Ph. Sanders and Black Herold 
  • 1965 - Ornette Coleman - Chappaqua Suite
  • 1968-Dave Burrell - High Won-High Two
  • 1968-Pharoah Sanders Ensemble with Albert Ayler
  • 1968 - Jazz Composer's Orchestra - The Jazz Composer's Orchestra 
  • 1968-Gary Bartz - Another Earth 
  • 1969-Leon Thomas - Spirits Known and Unknown
  • 1969-The Latin Jazz Quintet - Oh! Pharoah Speak
  • 1973-Larry Young - Lawrence Of Newark 
  • 1977-Phyllis Hyman - One on One
  • 1978-Hilton Ruiz - Fantasia
  • 1978 - Ed Kelly - Ed Kelly & Friends (Ed Kelly & Pharoah Sanders)
  • 1980-Idris Muhammad - Kabsha
  • 1981-Tisziji Munoz - Visiting the Planet
  • 1982-Elvin Jones-McCoy Tyner Quintet – Love & Peace 
  • 1985 - Art Davis - Life
  • 1987-McCoy Tyner - Blues for Coltrane
  • 1987-Benny Golson - This is for you, John
  • 1990-The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir - Live!
  • 1991 - Sonny Sharrock - Ask the Ages
  • 1991-Randy Weston - The Spirits Of Our Ancestors
  • 1991-Randy Weston - African Sunrise
  • 1993-Bheki Mseleku - Timelessness
  • 1994 -Franklin Kiermyer - Solomon's Daughter
  • 1995-Steve Turre - Rhythm Within from drhotte
  • 1995-Jah Wobble - Heaven & Earth part 1 \ part 2
  • 1996-Aiyb Dieng - Rythmagick
  • 1996-Jali Kunda - Griots of West Africa & Beyond altrn
  • 1996-Sonny Sharrock - Into Another Light
  • 1996-Wallace Roney - Village from drhotte
  • 1997-The Last Poets - Time Has Come altrn
  • 1997-Tisziji Munoz - River of Blood
  • 1997-Tisziji Munoz - Present Without a Trace
  • 1997-Tisziji Munoz - Spirit World
  • 1997-Arcana-Arc of Testemony
  • 1997-Music Revelation Ensemble-Cross Fire
  • 1998-Terry Callier - Timepeace altrn altrn
  • 1998-Chakra - The Seven Centers altrn
  • 1998-Randy Weston - Khepera
  • 2000-Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio - Africa N’Da Blus
  • 2000 - Alex Blake - Now is the Time: Live at the Knitting Factory 
  • 2000 - Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio - Africa N'da Blues
  • 2000-23 Skidoo - 23 Skidoo
  • 2001-Tisziji Munoz-Devine Radiance
  • 2001-Gigi - Gigi
  • 2003-VA-Asana 3: Peaceful Heart
  • 2003-Lonesome Echo Productions - Silver Ocean
  • 2003-Lili Haydn - Light Blue Sun
  • 2004-David Murray & Gwo-Ka Masters-Gwotet
  • 2006-Kenny Garrett Beyond The Wall
  • 2007-Method of Defiance - Inamorata
  • 2008 - Kenny Garrett - Sketches of MD: Live at the Iridium
  • 2008 - Sleep Walker - "Into The Sun" (on "The Voyage")
  • 2008-Kahil El Zabar's Ritual Trio - Ooh Live! 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sun Ra Discography

This post is definitely going to be one of my favorite post I have done on Blax-Jive. Sun Ra is simply genius. His life is beyond music and deeper than what you may hear. I'm proud to make this post and I hope everyone take advantages of the selected biographies I will have listed. I am only going to post a summary of Sun Ra, but its much deeper than what I am posting.


Sun Ra (May 22, 1914 to May 30, 1993) was an innovative and individual jazz composer, bandleader and piano and synthesizer player, who came to be known as much for preaching his bizarre cosmic philosophy as for his phenomenal musical compositions and performances.


Born Herman "Sonny" Blount in Birmingham, Alabama, he abandoned his birth name and took on the name of Sun Ra (Ra being the name of the ancient Egyptian god of the Sun) and headed a band with an ever-changing ensemble known as the "Arkestra" (or sometimes "Solar Arkestra").

The musical development of Sun Ra can be (loosely) categorized into three periods:

The first period of the 1950s was when his music evolved from big-band Swing into the outer space-themed "cosmic jazz" he was best known for. Early inhis career, Ra worked as an arranger for Fletcher Henderson. Music critics and jazz historians say some of his best work was recorded during this period. Notable Sun Ra albums from the 1950s include Sun Ra Visits Planet Earth, Interstellar Low Ways, Angels And Demons At Play, We Travel The Spaceways, and Jazz In Silhouette (among many others).
It was during the 1950s that Sun Ra began wearing the outlandish, Egyptian-styled costumes and headdresses he would be known for. Claiming that he was not from the Planet Earth but rather from Saturn, Ra developed a complicated persona of "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that preached "awareness" and peace above all. He eschewed racism (having been a victim of it many times, in regards to the touring and booking schedule of the Arkestra), though he rarely came out and directly spoke about any controversial subjects. He preferred to make music, which he did, as the cast of musicians touring and working with him changed on an almost daily basis.
(The most notable graduate of the Sun Ra Arkestra was John Gilmore, a saxophonist whose work influenced that of John Coltrane).
During the 1960s, his music underwent a chaotic, free jazz experimental period. It was during this period that his popularity reached its peak, as the "beat generation" and the psychedelic era embraced him. In this era, Ra was among the first of any musicians to make extensive use of synthesizers and other various electronic instruments. Newcomers to Ra's music may have difficulty with his albums of this era. Notable titles from this period include The Magic City, When Sun Comes Out, The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume One and Other Planes Of There.
During their third period, beginning in the 1970s and onward, Sun Ra and the Arkestra settled down into a more conventional method (though still highly eclectic and energetic), and Ra took a liking to the films of Walt Disney. He incorporated smatterings of Disney's musical numbers into many of his performances from then on; and in the late 1980s the Arkestra even performed a concert at Walt Disney World. The Arkestra's version of "Pink Elephants on Parade" is available on Stay Awake, a compilation of Disney tunes by many artists.
A number of Sun Ra's 1970s concerts are available on CD, but none have received a wide release in comparison to his earlier music. The album Atlantis can be considered the landmark that led into his 1970s era.

During his career Sun Ra recorded over one hundred albums, but many of them were printed on microlabels, and his music was largely unknown outside of the live jazz touring circuit. In the 1990s, after he had left this plane of existence, many of his recordings were released on compact disc for the first time under the Ihnfinity Music label.

The Arkestra continues to tour and perform as of November 2003, now led by alto saxophonist Marshall Allen.

Sun Ra and his Arkestra were the subject of a documentary film made in 1972 and a feature film entitled Space Is The Place in 1974. The soundtrack, also by Sun Ra, is available on CD.

Some recommended albums (by no means all-inclusive): Atlantis, Supersonic Jazz, Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy, We Travel the Spaceways, Singles, Languidity, The Magic City.

Brother From Another Planet [Documentary On Sun Ra]



Read the companion guide to this thread by Jon-A at The Astro-Infinity Equation

Posthumous Releases

Two In One Albums

Live Bootlegs




Covers and Interpretations

Arkestra recordings without Sun Ra (post 1993)

Audio Interviews


"Brother From Another Planet : The Sun Ra Story"

(2005, BBC documentary, 1.9.GB)

- text search "BBC" on the page.

"Space Is The Place"
(1972, released in 1974, 81 mins).

"Sun Ra - A Joyful Noise"
Documentary film by Robert Mugge (1980)

from Transparency DVD 0171
"Sun Ra Volume Two: Sun Ra Arkestra East and West Berlin"

Resources & Selected Biographies

Some notable sources & links :

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