Pharoah Sanders, John Hicks, Curtis Lundy & Idris Muhammad - Africa (2LP)

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Original Release Year:
Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Vinyl Record LP
Artist: Pharoah Sanders / John Hicks / Curtis Lundy / Idris Muhammad
Album: Africa
Released: Europe, Apr 2022


A1You've Got To Have Freedom10:01
Composed By - Sanders
Composed By - Coltrane
Composed By - Sanders
B2Speak Low8:04
Composed By - Weill, Nash
C1After The Morning6:29
Composed By - Hicks
Composed By - Sanders
D1Heart To Heart7:17
Composed By - Sanders
Composed By - Sanders

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"Africa," released in 1987, is a collaborative jazz album featuring tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, pianist John Hicks, bassist Curtis Lundy, and drummer Idris Muhammad. This album stands out as a significant work in the post-bop and spiritual jazz genres, showcasing the exceptional talents and synergistic interplay of these renowned musicians. "Africa" combines elements of traditional jazz with African rhythms and spiritual influences, creating a rich tapestry of sound that is both exploratory and deeply rooted in jazz traditions.

The title track, "Africa," is a lengthy, meditative piece that exemplifies the album's blend of spirituality and musical exploration. Sanders' tenor saxophone, known for its rich, overblown harmonics and emotional depth, takes the listener on a journey through a range of expressions, from plaintive cries to joyful exaltations. The track's slow-building structure and the incorporation of African-inspired rhythms create a mesmerizing and transcendent listening experience.

"You've Got to Have Freedom" is another highlight of the album, showcasing a more energetic and upbeat side of the ensemble. The track features a catchy, rhythmic motif and spirited solos from Sanders and Hicks. This composition reflects the album's theme of liberation and spiritual awakening, both in its lyrical content and in its free-flowing, exuberant musical style.

John Hicks' piano playing throughout the album provides a harmonic and rhythmic foundation that complements Sanders' saxophone. Hicks' ability to shift between lyrical, melodic playing and more avant-garde, percussive techniques adds depth and variety to the album's sound.

Curtis Lundy on bass and Idris Muhammad on drums form a rhythm section that is both solid and fluid. Their playing underpins the group's explorations, providing a grounding force while also contributing to the album's overall sense of movement and spontaneity.

The production on "Africa" captures the live, organic quality of the performances. The recording balances clarity with a sense of space, allowing each musician's contributions to be heard distinctly while also capturing the interactive nature of the ensemble.

In conclusion, "Africa" is a profound and compelling album that showcases the talents of four masterful jazz musicians. The album's fusion of post-bop, spiritual jazz, and African influences makes it a unique and significant contribution to the jazz canon. Pharoah Sanders, John Hicks, Curtis Lundy, and Idris Muhammad deliver performances that are both technically impressive and emotionally resonant, creating an album that is as spiritually uplifting as it is musically enriching. "Africa" remains a testament to the power of jazz as a medium for both personal expression and cultural connection.