Grainy blasts from the great Pharoah “Ferrell” Sanders’ tenor sax begin this live recording originally released on vinyl in 1982 (by the Bay Area’s great Theresa Records) and featuring the stellar John Hicks on piano, Walter Booker on bass and Idris Muhammad on drums. Like that of his mentor John Coltrane, with whom Sanders began exploring the outer reaches of sonic spirituality back in 1964, Sanders’ tumultuous playing is all about freedom in its most unbridled, soul-stirring form (the man can channel elephant shrieks from an African plain).
Most of the songs here, five live tracks culled from an early ‘80s West Coast tour, build with a slowly burning intensity that threatens to devour the stage. Beginning with a slow-ride tom build, “Pharomba” (recorded along with “Blues for Santa Cruz” live at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz) melds 13 minutes of smooth blues playing with Afro-Cuban rhythms and closes out with cosmic, harmonic overtones drifting from Sanders’ lips like a religious prayer.
A previously unreleased addition is the 21-minute closing track, "Doctor Pitt," an upbeat, rousing finale (lots of Sanders’ trademark hollers) performed in ode to Pitt, a small record label owner who supported musicians without regard for commercial appeal.