Pharoah Sanders

Africa

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As Kevin Whitehead's liner notes to this release reflect, Sanders "pays explicit tribute to his late mentor John Coltrane -- as this set's Coltrane-oriented sound makes unashamedly clear." Actually, Coltrane penned only one of the eight tunes, while Sanders wrote six, but the spirit of the master looms heavily throughout. Sanders displays an uncanny resemblance to Trane's unique way of over-blowing and his special ability to get inside a ballad. Pianist John Hicks is in perfect form and contributes mightily to the success of the session. Most will probably prefer the original Coltrane to Sanders' imitations, but Africa is nonetheless a joyous and worthy tribute to one of the giants of jazz. This album marked somewhat of a backtrack for the saxophonist, as he had frequently become identified with much more traditional playing.

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