Pharoah Sanders, Black Unity

Over ten minutes into this fucker, and we’ve got trumpet over organ over every freakin’ type of percussion reasonably imaginable… we start with bass lines like fingertips massaging you… then bells, then maybe a harp…?

Black Unity, all told, is one track, at 37:21… it’s an exercise in tribal rhythm: it builds, and it builds and it FUCKING BUILDS, repeating and repeating and reiterating and synonymizing and reflecting and recapitulating… (and during all this where the trumpeter’s still trying to out-scream and/or arpeggio Sanders… and he’s giving it a pretty good go…!)

Just a great photo.

Black Unity is the free-jazzish version of black metal and/or grindcore:

it’s a delighted, religious swoon of a ceremony, and this ceremony, this sonic invocation… about chaos: a celebration of the unknown, and of our relationship to it… swelling keyboards at 19:30, again….

Dig that xylophone at 19:00… bass plucked at random as though dictated by the Gods… strings plucked above their bridge at 28:00…

It waxes, it wanes… it’s sometimes a melody, sometimes a percussion, often both… it’s “music” deciding, however coyly, whether or not to make an appearance….

Black Unity shows the majesty of tenor sax, as, above all, a leader, a sonic Herald, a modernized tribal conch shell… it rarely plays, yet completes the scene when it does… and you can feel it, when it’s silent, dictating the action from behind the scenes, a leader in sound… but then THERE it is, with 2:55 left in the tune, swelling in and out over the pulsing organ, so much activity, saying such a simple thing… with 1:11 (left) we’re fading out… with Asian harpsichord…. fading out for over thirty seconds… dig that applause… dig that laaaaaast bell….

It’s chaos in hand, via reed, as is the way it is, and should forever be… all hail!

Consider, audially, for yourself at

[See? You can totally write about jazz as if it were for a metal band.]

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