May 28, 2024

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CD review: Pharoah Sanders – Pharoah (Box Set) – 2023: Video, CD cover

With Pharoah Sanders’ blessing, we present the definitive, remastered version of PHAROAH, his seminal record from 1977, in an embossed 2 LP box set.

Out in September, the updated box set release will feature the full remastered record as well as two previously unreleased recordings of the late jazz legend performing album cut ‘Harvest Time’ live.

It also includes a booklet featuring rare photographs and an interview with Sanders, with the artist having approved the project ahead of his death in 2022.

Alongside the original record, we’re including two previously unreleased live performances of his masterpiece, “Harvest Time,” and a 24-page booklet with rarely seen photographs and ephemera, which tell the story of this album and this moment in Pharoah’s life in a way that has never been done before—including through interviews with many of the participants and a conversation with Pharoah himself.

For those of you who already know this record, then you know that its origin story is as elusive as Pharoah was about everything Pharoah. It was born out of a misunderstanding between him and the India Navigation producer Bob Cummins, and was recorded when he was at a crossroads in his career with an unlikely crew. Among them was a guitarist who was also a spiritual guru, an organist who would go on to co-write and produce “The Message,” and a classically trained pianist—his wife at the time, Bedria Sanders—who played the harmonium despite never having seen one. At times ambient and serene, at others funky and modal, PHAROAH radically departed from his earlier work. And it became beloved.

Later this year and into 2024, the box set will be supported by a series of live performances taking place under the banner ‘The Harvest Time Project: A Tribute To Pharoah Sanders’. The run of shows will see different artists come together to perform the 20-minute piece ‘Harvest Time’. The first of those performances will take place at Utrecht’s Le Guess Who? festival on November 12, featuring a lineup of Irreversible Entanglements, Domenico Lancellotti and Tisziji Muñoz.

Last fall, we were working with Pharoah on this project when he unexpectedly passed away. At first, it was hard to know what to do. We loved him, and the reason you do all of this is not solely for the music, but also for the person who made it. It’s their personality, their humor, and their wishes that drive you forward. So, we decided to go deep into the research. We set out to create something that showed Pharoah and his music in a new light.

Over the next few months, we’re going to share with you all the amazing things we found, from personal photos of Pharoah to newspaper clippings that people saved in their time capsules. (Sign up at the link in our bio to get updates.) And we’re going to share the live versions of “Harvest Time,” which turn the original piece on its head.

For seasoned listeners and new acolytes both, Pharoah will never sound the same.

Pharoah Box Set (Incl. Harvest Time Live 1977)

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