Pharoah Sanders feat Leon Thomas - Shukuru - AudioSoundMusic

Pharoah Sanders feat Leon Thomas - Shukuru

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First Vinyl Release of "For Big George"

Pharoah Sanders - Tenor saxophone (all tracks), vocals (A1, A3) [click here to see more vinyl featuring Pharoah Sanders]

Leon Thomas - Vocals (A3-4) [click here to see more vinyl featuring Leon Thomas]

Idris Muhammad - Drums [click here to see more vinyl featuring Idris Muhammad]

William Henderson - Keyboards (Kurzweil 250)

Ray Drummond – Bass

Voice & string arrangements by William Henderson

Written by Pharoah Sanders (A1, A3, B2-3), Leon Thomas (A4, B3), Frank Eyton (A2), Johnny Green (A2), Edward Heyman (A2), Robert Sour (A2), Harold Adamson (B1), Jimmy McHugh (B1)


1 LP, standard sleeve

Original analog Master tape : YES

Heavy Press : 180g

Record color : black

Speed : 33 RPM

Size : 12'’



Record Press : unspecified

Label : Pure Pleasure Records

Original Label : Theresa Records

Recorded & Mixed at Live Oak Studio, Berkeley, California in 1981

Engineered and mixed by  Dale Everingham

Produced by Pharoah Sanders

Remastered by Cicely Baston at Air Mastering, London

Originally released in 1985 (without B3)

Reissued in November 2022

Tracks :

Side A:

  1. Shukuru
  2. Body And Soul
  3. Mas In Brooklyn (High Life)
  4. Sun Song

Side B:

  1. Too Young To Go Steady
  2. Jitu
  3. For Big George (first vinyl release of this track)


Reviews :

"Pure Pleasure Records has released a re-mastered 180-gram vinyl of the Theresa Records 1981 album Shukuru. It is a diverse tapestry of musical expression, with a mainstream approach. Side A opens with the ethereal title cut. Against a deliberate, slow groove and synthesizers (William Henderson), Sanders invokes a ruminative, melodic lead. The arrangement is atmospheric and in some ways, hypnotic. Maintaining traditional structure, “Body And Soul” (a perennial jazz standard for saxophonists) is classic balladry with a gentle flow. Sanders fluid, crisp saxophone (with limited vibrato at the end) captures the inherent slow-burning intensity, but the lush arrangement (with synthesized vocals) is spacious. Henderson adds textured solo on piano featuring chords and right hand notation. In a shift of mood and tone, vocalist Leon Thomas brings a Caribbean vibe to the festive “Has In Brooklyn (Highlife)”. The jaunty countenance and falsetto are infectious and the arrangement glows with warmth. Thomas’ unique vocals are at the core of “Sun Song”, which feels like a Latin-infused reverie, infusing a steady, relaxing pulse. Sanders’ gossamer run is understated and embraces the melodic essence of the song.

Taking another page from Coltrane, Sanders breathes new life int the popular standard “Too Young To Go Steady”. With a deep sensitivity, the angst of young love is translated perfectly. Henderson’s thoughtful piano is kindred to the spirit of the song. In a flourishing opening provided by Henderson, “Jitu” swings. The aggressive waltz-time tempo provides a cohesive structure for Sanders’ passionate offering. There is a distinctive swing tempo and the unusual, layered vocalese, with Henderson percolating on another memorable solo. Idris Muhammad executes a couple of well-timedrum fills. “For Big George’ makes its first appearance on vinyl. This is a plaintive statement, with mournful tenor shading and feathery synthesizers. It is quintessential spiritual jazz, with Leon Thomas adding his distinctive baritone voice.

Shukuru is another compelling album from a true jazz visionary. There are nuanced layers and motifs on every track. The re-mastered sound mix is excellent with balanced stereo separation." - Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition

“Pharoah Sanders and singer Leon Thomas had a reunion on this Theresa recording on two of the numbers (most notably "Sun Song") and, although the magic of "The Creator Has a Master Plan" is not recaptured, the music is still enjoyable. The other four numbers are instrumentals featuring Sanders' tenor with keyboardist William Henderson, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Idris Muhammad. Sanders does a close impression of late-'50s John Coltrane on "Body and Soul" and "Too Young to Go Steady" and shows a bit more heat on the other two numbers. But fans of his most passionate dates are advised to get a sampling of the earlier Impulse recordings instead.” AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow


Ratings :

AllMusic : 3 / 5 , Discogs : 4,54 / 5

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