Pharoah Sanders


Though the criticism of Pharoah Sanders’ work with John Coltrane’s late-’60s aggregations still stings, it is the saxophonist’s passionate, blues-based lyricism and raspy tonal beauty that make ‘trane classics like Live in Japan soul-shaking experiences. Sanders’ work of that era is the very essence of what drummer Franklin Kiermyer (whose Solomon’s Daughter, also released on Evidence, is one of this year’s aural highlights) has understandably dubbed “American ecstatic music.” Sanders’ passion is considerably subdued on Crescent With Love, yet the lyrical clarity and coursing ardor of yore can be heard in his interpretations of Cole Porter’s “Body and Soul” and Coltrane’s “Lonnie’s Lament”—the latter a perfect vehicle for the leader’s pensive, melancholy sound.