Pharoah Sanders – Balance (1969)

Balance is second track on Izipho Zam (My Gifts) by Pharoah Sanders, recorded January 14, 1969 and released on Strata-East in 1973.

Two years after the death of his mentor and boss, John Coltrane, and just before signing his own contract with Impulse!, Pharoah Sanders finally got around to releasing an album as a leader apart from the Impulse! family. Enlisting a cast of characters no less than 13 in number, Sanders proved that his time with Coltrane and his Impulse! debut, Tauhid, was not a fluke. Though hated by many of the jazz musicians at the time – and more jazz critics who felt Coltrane had lost his way musically the minute he put together the final quintet – Sanders followed his own muse to the edges of Eastern music and sometimes completely outside the borderlines of what could be called jazz. That said, Izipho Zam is a wonderful recording, full of the depth of vision and heartfelt soul that has informed every recording of Sanders since. Guests include Sonny Sharrock, Lonnie Liston Smith, Chief Bey, Cecil McBee, Sirone, Sonny Fortune, Billy Hart, Howard Johnson, and others.

“Balance,” the first blowing tune on the set, with the African drums, the modal horns, and Sanders’ microtonal investigations of sonic polarity contrasted with Johnson’s tuba, leaving the rhythm section to join him as Sharrock and Smith trade drone lines and Sanders turns it into a Latin dance from outer space about halfway through to the end — it’s astonishing.

– an exhilarating, indispensable out jazz experience. [source]

Sonny Fortune – Alto Saxophone
Cecil McBee – Bass
Sirone Norris Jones – Bass
Billy Hart – Drums
Majeed Shabazz – Drums
Chief Bey – African Drums
Sonny Sherrock – Guitar
Nat Bettis – Percussion
Tony Wiles – Percussion
Lonnie Liston Smith – Piano
Pharoah Sanders –  Saxophone, Percussion, Vocal, Flute
Howard Johnson –  Tuba
Leon Thomas – Percussion, Vocal
Tony Wylie – Percussion

 

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