A deep blues, a call to enlightenment, a psychedelic spiritual of epic proportions, Pharaoh Sanders’ “The Creator has a master plan” rings with a disciplined clarity one might expect from a former John Coltrane collaborator and acolyte of spiritual jazz. But if Sanders extends the Coltrane legacy to this recording, he also pushes open new doors, inviting across the song’s 32 minutes an ascent into a flowing, meditational free jazz where vocalist Leon Thomas shrieks and yodels along with Sanders’ sax, and the band lays down a freakout that in its joyful conclusion returns to the cradling peace of the main theme. Mere months after participating in the sessions that yielded Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, Richard Davis again is an anchor, working with fellow bassist Reggie Workman to drive the music in its soaring flight and underpin the caterwaul as the whole ship hits the heart of the African sun. This is the sound of jazz taking back its rock and roll at the most essential level, and I think too a nod of respect to rock’s embrace of jazz in its great psychedelic experiment.
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