Luaka Bop/Julie Mehretu

LISTEN TO PHAROAH SANDERS’ ‘PROMISES’
Listentopromises.com. $14-$27. 

Even if the minds behind this record had simply said, “Hey, let’s put Pharoah Sanders in a room with violinists and a harpsichord player and see what happens,” it would have been a notable experiment. And, in a way, that’s sort of what British composer Sam Shepherd did for this 46-minute, nine-movement piece, out in late March on David Byrne’s label Luaka Bop. The Little Rock octogenarian and free jazz legend’s saxophone is the piece’s protagonist voice, soaring above and around Shepherd’s ethereal backdrop of celeste, harpsichord and electronics, underpinned by strings courtesy of the London Symphony Orchestra.

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As it stands, Sanders and Shepherd have made the best meditation album of the year, though it’s just as suitable if your meditation takes the form of trout fishing or biking the trails at Northwoods or Allsopp Park. Order the album at listentopromises.com. 

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